Location: System AX-03
Warm and Sweet
After seeing that Kata'nova was safely in a room at the hotel to rest, Josea had lead Freyja to the closes Warm and Sweet shop.
He held the door open for the red haired Neko.
Timidly the Saint neko followed Josea, She had been wondering the whole time why he needed to talk to her. She assumed it was something having to do with the incident on the ice cream parlor.
So when he opened and held the door open for her she quietly went in, stopping not far past the door, waiting for a que from the Science Liaison.
Josea stepped in carefully since Freyja did not enter very far. "Are you trying to have me run into you again?" He said with a grin. "That is not my normal way to start a conversation. We can either go up to the counter to order, or we can take a booth and wait for a waitress. Lady's choice." He said gesturing.
She at first had wondered what he was meaning running into her just to start a conversation, but it was the question about what to do and the Lady's choice that had gotten her a bit confused. She looked around for a moment before she realized the Lady he was meaning was her.
"Umm, I guess sit down?" she responded with a question as if she wasn't sure herself.
"As you wish, he walked over to an empty booth that was not too close to the counter or the doors. A place that would be good for talking. He stood next to the table, "Have a seat here, we should be able to talk without too much noise or distractions." he said.
Nodding, Freyja slipped into the seat setting the stuffed dino next to her. Nervously she rested her hands on the table, interlacing her fingers. She could smell the yummy smells of the cinnamon roll that the shop specialized in.
Josea moved into the bench opposite her. He watched her careful attention to where her stuffed dinosaur was seat. 'Curious behavior for a solider, but then Nekos do not have the same long childhood humans do. I guess its a coping mechanism of some sort.' he thought.
Before he could speak, a waitress glided over and slid a menu in front of each of them, and placed a glass of ice water and a napkin as well. "Well, hello there. Always nice to see a new couple of folks coming in to sit. Most of our customers just grab and go. We have a special on the cinnamon rolls. Buy two get a third one free." She smiled warmly at the two. "I'll give you a minute or so to make your decision." she said and walked away to clear a table that had just emptied.
Josea watched the woman leave, "So I presume there is a story behind... Mr Waffles?"
She had sat there quietly as the nice lady had given them the beginnings for the table. though the sound of more food did sound good, in the light of the yumminess, she wasn't sure she should eat anything more. Then the question was asked about her stuffed friend.
Protectively she moved Mr. Waffles closer as she spoke, "He was given to me, by one of the fighter ground crews where I was trained. I was alone a lot of the time I wasn't in classes or behind the controls of a simulator or the crafts themselves. So I had my only friend Mr. Waffles. The tech said I reminded him of his daughter, but a bit bigger."
"I see, well you are not with the fighter crews anymore. Plenty of people on the Aeon to make friends with. Oh, and once again, my apologies for knocking you to the floor at the Ice Cream Parlor.
So, what do you do when you are off-duty? Any hobbies?"
"It.. it's ok, Most people don't see me until it's too late." She smiled a little. It was strange, or at least if this was an interrogation these were the most unusual questions she had ever heard.
"I do paperwork, I just got one done on the maintenance cycle for the shuttle I have been using so much. It might need to be increased, there was a ticking sound in the left power distribution nossle last time. Past that I talk with Mr. Waffles and now... I hang out with Kata'nova. She seems to need a minder... though maybe one that isn't trying to poison her."
Josea smiled and only managed to resist actually laughing at Freyja. "Paperwork is not a hobby, its doing your job. Trust me I know, I am a linguist, and spend lots of time reading documents in various languages. But to relax, I like composing music, or practicing. More important though I spend time with friends." He picked up the menu and surveyed it quickly.
"Freyja, besides Mr Waffles, do you have any friends? People that you spend time with just for fun? Your time with Kata'nova counts, but you seemed ready to draw a weapon on Kata and Sheela for something that was not much different that the trouble most crew experience during shore leave.
Have you ever taken a walk with someone through a park, or along a beach at night. Perhaps holding hands, or maybe even dance?"
"No... But I have been aboard ship, or on operations since I left flight school." Freyja had to mind how she said things, or she would have said that she hadn't had a chance since she left the Saint facilities.
"Though it's not surprising. I'm not really part of the crew. I'm just a fighter pilot that has beed relegated to shuttle duty aboard a ship with out a fighter complement."
"I believe that Katae-San would say otherwise. I am sure she considers you to be a member of her crew. Someone that she is responsible for. We all have different jobs, but that does not mean any of us are not part of the Aeon crew.
I also believe you are part of the crew, and someone that I would like to know better, and hopefully get to be friends with.
I am more of an outsider for the Aeon crew than you or even Kata'nova believe it or not. You are all military. I am a civilian."
He made it all seem so easy. She couldn't be part of the crew because of her job, her real job. She was held apart from the rest of the crew because she was undercover. It even seemed that Eli was shipped off the second she grew close to him.
"Your not that far removed form the crew, you speak their language and you live and fight with them." She blushed, though from embarrassment or anger even she wasn't sure. "I'm just a glorified bus driver. I'm not even allowed to fly or fight the ship."
"I'm not military, and you are mistaken about one aspect. I am actually not permitted to go into a combat situation knowingly. I am classified as a non-combatant. I do live with them, but see that is where you and I differ. I live WITH them, not just among them. I talk with them, hang out with them. I've spent many a late night on the bridge with Yani and Gi talking or trading stories. Or time in the lounge playing my latest song to see what they think.
As for not being allowed to fly the Aeon or control her in combat. Have you ever expressed that interest with the Taisa. I know she's been training a person who wasn't even a shuttle pilot. I am sure she would allow you to, but you would have to speak up for yourself."
The waitress came back over, "Have you folks decided what you want?"
Josea looked at her, "Well I know I have, but I am not sure about my guest. Freyja?"
'Yes ma'am, an escape route and maybe a small cake...' Freyja thought for a moment as she quickly scanned the menu. "I would like a small hot chocolate." She game a small smile and slid the menu to the side of the table.
She had never thought to ask about being on the bridge, she figured that if the Commander wanted her on the bridge she would have ordered her to it. 'Could the Aeon survive a fighter pilot at the helm?'
Josea smiled and then replied to the waitress, "I'd like an Ice tea and a blueberry muffin please. One check, I'll be paying."
"But... it's just a small hot choco..." Freyja commented, not feeling right about him buying her drink.
"Freya, that's what friends or people who are trying to be a friend do. They do little things to be nice.
I think you have been a little too wrapped up in your work, and have forgotten to grow as a person. Its like what Sachi said when I was at the Onsen to some of our other crew members. She was very wise. She pointed out that a soldier needs to have a life to appreciate what they are fighting for."
"Guess so... But I fight cause that is what I've been told to do... If there is more then I've never seen it." She paused for a moment trying to grasp how to explain it with out letting it all out. "I.. I've never been to Yamatai. I've never been to any civilian city... This place has been the closes I have come to seen.
"That dear lady is a shame. There is a lot of beauty on Yamatai, or several of the other worlds. Fortunately, that is something we can rectify in the VCE. Daichi is a very lovely wild world. It is exciting to stand on a beach when there is a storm out at sea and feel the pounding of the surf.
Some people would say that a soldier only needs to know how to fight. That might be true if they are just expected to be robots. A soldier needs to know why they fight, and what they are fighting to protect. It gives a soldier a reason to put their life on the line besides just doing ones duty."
"I am not a robot. The whys are above my pay grade and the ones we protect is the Empire. Nothing more is needed." Freyja was confused, she had been drilled, programed, and taught that nothing means more then to defend the empire from external, and more impotently internal threats.
"I wish I could explain more. It's the same as when Heisho Arai tried to take responsibility. There are reasons decided far above my pay grade." She slumped into her seat and almost hid behind the red hair that fell in front of her eyes.
"Sit up Freyja, I'm not criticizing you. I'm not talking about the why the Empire declares war on someone. I'm talking about fighting to protect friends, family, country. I have seen both in wildlife and among people, the lengths a mother will go to protect her young. Caring about someone gives a person a strength that can't be measured. But its there.
So after this how does a visit to the VCE sound. I can show you some places that I have visited both before I joined the SSS, and some after. That is if you would like to spend some more time hanging out with me."
She slowly sat back up, but the hair never was pulled back from her eyes. "That would be fine.. i guess i can order a outfit for Mr. Waffles later." Freyja looked through her lenses at the science officer and wondered why he ws trying to be nice, he had brought her here to to chew her out of the incedent at the parlor. Wasn't he?
"I would like to see a forest... That isn't exploding around me, or has monsters in the dark..." She shivered.
"Then you will love Daichi, it has incredible forests. One forest the trees are over a thousand years old, and the base is more than 25 feet across. Daichi is a such a new world, one that has not been spoiled with development like some of the Nepleslian worlds." he reached over and gently pushed Freyja's hair away from her face.
"Sorry but I like to be able to see who I'm talking to. I'm going to presume those are Uno Sunglasses. Especially since as a NH series you have perfect vision. You haven't modified them to be able to scan through things like peoples clothes right." he said with a laugh.
She tensed up at the touch as he brushed the hair from her face. It would only be a matter of time before it feel back across her glasses. Then the comment about the abilities of her glasses came up. she blushed brightly.
"I can't say what all it can do, but no I'm sure that wasn't a modification. At least I wasn't informed of it, if it was." She blushed again and looked down at the front of her skirt. There was a bit of fuzz there, so she carefully started picking at it to remove it.
"I use them to help record things and keep records."
Josea chuckled at Freyja's blushing. "Freyja, you are in so much trouble if you blush like that when Yani and Gi are around. Those two love to tease and embarrass people in a playful fashion."
"You make it sound like staying with what I have been doing, is the better plan." Freyja spoke self asured again that she was fine with how she lived.
"I can see how it might seem safer to stay with the familiar. But I would rather a life of experience and friendship. A life of just work, is just an existence, and sounds really lonely and dull. But one way or another it is your decision. I asked to speak with you because I thought you could use a friend. If I was mistaken, well then I apologize."
The waitress came and delivered their orders. Josea handed the woman his KS card and took a sip of his tea.
She turned to the waitress and thanked her, pulling the mug of choco close to her and letting it's warmth work through her hands.
"Please don't take what i said as I don't want a friend. It's well hard for me to have them. Do you know how much risk there is flying? Apparently it was safer on the ground against the NMX then in the air." She sighed and slumped in her seat again, she wish she didn't have to lie to him. There were only two people aboard that knew who she really was.
"Then I guess it is a good thing that the war is over, and you are flying in a Plumeria Gunship. So do we have a date for the VCE?" Josea answered.
The blush returned, and brighter this time. Fumbling through her words, she gave up and nodded. Trying to hide behind a sip of the warm drink she wondered what he meant by date.