She had called it a date, but it didn't really seem to be one. Unless she was planning for more to happen than he was. It was just the two of them going to the mess hall as far as he knew. Yet Bernhard could not help but worry about about it. He'd been subjected to enough of Laura's mood swings to be cautious about any and everything a woman planned. Normally, he'd just meet someone at the mess hall but courtesy demanded he meet Lisa at her door.
He leaned against the bulkhead next to her door, fiddling with the combat knife at his waist. Bernhard was not yet ready to admit he was nervous. Why should he be? He was just going to get food with Private Simmons from the Mess Hall.
The door slid open and Lisa walked out. She sported a new clean uniform. Her hair was set loose falling in straightly down her backs under a marine garrison hat on her head. Noticable was also bright red lipstick she applied and slight use of mascara. A flowery fragrance also wafted under Bernhard's nose. She noticed the medic leaning against the wall next to her doors and smiled.
"Well hello there, Mr. Medic? Waiting for someone?" She said and smiled even more, closing the doors.
Bernhard looked up and was surprised for a moment. She looked very... "pretty" was the only word which sprung up in his mind. But his surprise was only fleeting and his demeanour was unchanged. "It'd be rude if I didn't walk you to and from your date, Simmons," Bernhard said casually as he stood straight.
"Well look at that," she said and whistled. "A gentleman! That is a nice surprise." Her smile did not leave her lips as she looked into his eyes. As the doors closed she pointed down the hallway and spoke again. "Shall we then?"
Bernhard smiled slightly in reply, "Ladies first." He gestured as if to let her pass.
Lisa nodded and started walking. As she walked, putting one hand in front of the other she made sure to get in front of Bernhard for few first steps. She wanted him to have a look from that side too and she was confident in her body enough for that as she sexy walked down the hall towards an elevator.
As much as he tried, Bernhard knew his concentration was failing. Lisa was a fine specimen of female Nepleslian beauty and it was increasingly difficult to ignore that part. She's a Marine, she's not interested in what you're trying not to think about and she just wants food Bernhard repeated to himself. He knew that she and Laura were entirely different women, from their personalities to their looks, but it was only now that he realized how great a difference that was.
"Lucky!" Lisa said happily as the doors to the elevator slid open right after she pushed the button. She walked in and sent the elevator to the right deck when Bernie joined her. Crappy music could be heard while they were riding. "God I hate the elevator music," Lisa exclaimed and frowned.
"Yeah, it's pretty bad," Bernhard observed. "Ask the Captain if we can change it. She's gotta ride the elevator at some point." This was where he had to make conversation. He could do that. Hopefully.
"What would you replace it with?" he asked.
"The Captain? Well the Iron lady is most likely to bite my face stuff after not saluting today on the training." She said and grinned as if she did not care one bit. "As for the music... well some soft rock or classic guitar tones could be nice, maybe even a piano."
Bernhard remembered that inspection. "Drop what you're holding and salute next time," he said with a smirk, "But she doesn't look like the biting kind. And when Laura saw her on Tange, she was definitely not so wound up like the Admiral. But then, Laura's not the best with people."
The doors opened and Bernhard gestured to let Lisa out first.
Lisa smiled again and walked out of the elevator cabin. Now it was only short walk to get to the mess hall.
"I don't really care about captain one bit anyway." Lisa continued in the topic. "She can bark all she wants, what really is important is if I manage to do my work as a marine and not if I can salute properly."
"Well, part of being a Marine is to show respect to the higher ranks. By military law, she's God on this ship and even the Admiral is, in some ways, subject to her orders. I don't know why that is but it is." As they entered the mess hall, Bernhard stopped in front of the daily menu.
"Specials are... hamburgers, fries and milkshakes or beef stew with baked potato. I sense they're fattening us up for the slaughter," Bernhard observed with a hint of sarcasm. "Or there's the usual random pieces of chicken, vegetables and mash. What do you think you're going to get?"
"Might not be the most of romantic meals, but I will probably got with the hamburgers." Lisa said after watching the board with meals for a while. She also did not wanted to stuff herself too much for waht she had in plan to do later in the night. "What are you going to get?" She asked.
"I was thinking the same thing," Bernhard replied. He walked up to the counter to order, "Two of the burger specials." Five minutes later, their hot food was ready, each plate and tall glass on a serving tray. Bernhard picked his up and waited for Lisa.
Lisa picked up her tray and followed Bernhard. She was sure he did not take hers too, just because it was pretty much impossible to carry two at once. She found an empty table on the far side of mess and sat her lovely backside on it. She then went to explore her food tray.
"Seem the chef outdone himself this time," she said inspecting her hamburger befrore biting of a large chunk of it. "Mmm," she cooed in please as she was chewing.
Bernhard, too, was impressed by the food's quality. "You know what this means? We're about to enter combat. Like a last meal," he said before taking a bite. The beef really was hot and juicy. All Bernhard could do was nod his approval of the food as he savored the beef and bun in his mouth.
"Are you bunking alone or do you have a room mate?" he asked Lisa after he had swallowed that savoury first bite.
Lisa put the hamburger back on its plate and took few fries. She slowly ate one after another while Bernie was talking.
"Well, well , well," she then replied with devilish grin on her face. "Aren't we a curious fellow?" She then said and chuckled. "I have room all for myself now."
"Just making polite conversation. Wasn't sure how the rooming situation was working since the ship has fewer Marines than it was built to carry," Bernhard laughed. He took a sip of the creamy milkshake and basked in its glorious chocolatey flavour. "They need to do chocolate milkshakes more often..." he sighed blissfully.
Lisa's shake was banana flavoured and she took a sip before returning to her fries. She liked to eat fries first, since she liked the taste of the hambruger much more.
"Well yeah, I have my own room. That is both good and bad, since I like to talk before going to the bed and things like that."And maybe even more, She though after saying that. "But at least I can play my guitar and bass freely now."
"Where'd you learn to play?" Bernhard asked, recalling how his childhood was always a variation of working in the clinic, going to school or just hiding when the things got really rough on the streets. He had often wondered if that was what other children experienced. His friends at school were few and had never expressed an interest in seeing his family's clinic or home. Possibly because their parents were aware of the death threats sent to Bernhard's father every week.
"Well I grew up on a mining ship," Lisa said. She smiled as she was recalling the past. "Well you know, there is not much to do on the ship. Apart from working that is. So when I was not working with machinery or wathchin dad pilot the damn hulk I was in my room playing or gaming."
"Sounds a lot more peaceful than my childhood," Bernhard commented wistfully. "Do you sing and write songs as well? Or just instrumentals?" It was nice to have a conversation like this, he thought. At the very least, it gave him insights into the other Marines.
"Heh yeah... peacefull childhood. Until pirates showed up or some machined bolted up on you. Luckily we had ex-marines in the crew so pirates got their assess kicked." She said and laughed out loud. She rememeber two crewmembers from the past. And ID-Sol and a slim athletic girl. She was still a small kid when it happened, but she knew those two took care of six pirates who tried to board Dad's ship without as much as getting a scratch. "And yeah I can sing too, I tried even writing my songs but that never gets anywhere. I like to play more than sing. I do write music though, wanna listen some later?" She asked in the end.
"I'd love to. Better than checking to make sure I have all of my medical gear ready," he laughed. Bernhard ate the last piece of his hamburger and shoved the last french fry into his mouth. There was still some of his milkshake left though. "Oh that was good. Much better than any field ration," he said contentedly.
"Yeah this is better, but rations have a bottle of whiskey in it and you have chance to get a forty-fiver in there too." Lisa replied and took another bite of her burger. Her fries were gone but she was still girl and could not finish her meal as fast as Bernard could.
"You eat so slowly; like my younger sister! Yet you talk about alcohol like my father! Are you sure you're not better suited for the Navy than the Marines?" Bernhard chuckled quietly. Lisa Simmons really was an amusing woman and it was pointless for him to maintain any sort of professional distance.
"Oh but I was in the Navy before they kicked me out," Lisa stated as if it was nothing big as she worked on her burger.
"Really? For what? Too much salty talk?" Bernhard asked, now curious.
"I was a pilot," she said. She was not too fond of remembering all that happened but she was not one to cover in fear or hide it. She messed up big time and she had to live with that. "I was good at it too, but I got cocky. I caused a big accident right near the end of the flight academy. I had a month before becoming full pilot and I messed up. I trashed my arm and another guy almost died. Not mentiong two planes that got banged up really bad." Lisa was sure Bernie know about her arm anyway. He was most likely to read her medical logs after all. Even if nothing scars on her arm gave cyber-surgery right away to medic like him.
Bernhard nodded silently. It definitely explained the rebuilt right arm. "Well, it could have been worse. You could have been prevented from joining the Marines entirely. You still get to fly, even if its a power armour and not a fighter. Flight time is flight time, no matter what, right?" he finally said.
Lisa finished chewing last bit of her burger and sighed. She then looked Bernards right into his eyes and said, "It might seem so to you, but it is not the same. High-speed fighter is something completely else from Hostile bopping in air on its boosters. You just won't know until you try flying jet-plane in the atmosphere, dogfighting with your mates from class." She finished the sentence with another sight. "Still I am glad I am here. Gives me another chance and stuff to focus on."
He nodded, "Yeah, I know its not the same. But it takes a special kind of crazy to be a fighter jockey. Is there a madwoman lurking underneath that I haven't discovered?"
"Haha," Lisa grinned at her dinner-budy. "Well you will have to dig deeper to find out about that, doctor." She said and tilted her head in daring expression. "But I think we talked enough about me. Let's talk about you now. What is up with you and Laura? Is she your sister?" Lisa asked.
"Laura? Hell no! We're not related at all. She's a clone with a lot of ...," Bernhard lowered his voice, "issues. Patient-physician privacy means I can't tell you what issues but think of me like her babysitter. And probably the only friend she has right now. I've been trying to get others to befriend her but no one's really stepped up. She's definitely feels lonely and isolated when I'm not around. After all, a clone born into this world without a friend or family and within a year, expected to be a great medic and a great Marine. Something's bound to go wrong in the psychology and its my job to fix it."
"She is lucky to stumble upon nice guy like you." LIsa stated with a smile on her rosy lips. "As for her medical issues, they are not my business. I will make sure to get to know her though. I want to get to know everyone from our team, might as well start with troubled clone girl. See some people looks at clones as if they were something lesser, but that is a bunch bollocks. They are people like you and me, they just never got chance to be kids. I doubt I will become Laura's mum or shit, but I bet I can at least chat with her every now and then. Nothing against you, but she is a girl and she needs to get with another girl for some chick-talk."
"Oh, I'm all for her having an older sister to talk to! It'll give me a rest from being her babysitter," Bernhard laughed. "Would you apply that same reasoning to the Yamataian or NMX Nekos?" he asked a moment later.
Lisa scratched her chin for a little while, deep in thoughts. She drank a little of her shake to boost her mind process.
"Well that is hard question," was her first answer. "But well I probably think the same way about them too. You see, our clones are usually made to serve some use. Whether they be soldiers, bodyguards or shipyard workers they have to work their way into freedom, right? Well, isn't that same with nekoes? I heard Yamatai lets nekoes have civilian life after some times of servies. Neko is like our clone, except she is a living weapon. As for NMX: Welll NMX are our enemy and I know very little about their nekoes. I don't even know if they have personality like Yamatain nekoes have."
"Call me a bigot if you want, but I find it difficult to see it that way. I understand it intellectually but if your first impression of a Neko was that Harm character employed by Admiral Wazu, I think you'd understand that I just can't bring myself trust them. I doubt they're all like her but then, I remember that the Empress is a Neko herself and well, I don't think I like how the Yamataians throw their weight about like they're the only ones who matter. I admit I've not met any others besides Harm so I'm willling to change my impressions if the data doesn't support the conclusion." Bernhard finished his milkshake.
"Well fuck me siddeways. Neko employed by Nepleslian admiral? How the fuck that happen?" Lisa said in total surprise. "Anyway," she continued. "Before you tell me about that, let me finish. I just cannot bring myself to hate nekoes cause everyone else does. Sure they are living weapons for Yamatai, but when you think of it they just listen to orders. Well they are like us, only worse because they never got a chance to be anything else then soldiers. If you want to hate someone, hate their makers. That is all I have to add on that matter."
"I don't know what the Admiral was up to, honestly. But Admiral Valken is definitely working to overcompensate for Admiral Wazu's indiscretions. I'd bet money that the IPG are watching him and Wazu to see if there's something up with 4th Fleet. Harm just swanned about, acting like she owned the place even though she was a mercenary under contract. I'm glad to see the last of her since she ticked off a lot of Marines and I'm not trained to handle Nekos," Bernhard explained.
"She sound like real piece of work," Lisa said and drank rast drop of her shake. "Well I am glad I missed both her and this Admiral Wazu. Anyway we are all finished up with the meal. Want to go to my room and listen to that music now?" She asked.
"Sure, ladies first," Bernhard replied with a smile.