When Techs Meet
When Techs Meet
Summary: Two Deck Technicians meet in person for the first time … hilarity ensues.
Date: 40 ACH
Related Logs: None

Into the Gym steps Effie. She's wearing sweats and her hair has been pulled into a mostly blonde curly tail. She crosses the main room headed in the direction of the pool, a towel slung over her shoulder along with a small duffle bag.

"Go with the flow…" Bell grunts as she works the weights. It's a concept she thinks on. Turning it over in her entirely blonde brain. She eyes Effie as the mostly-blonde passes, offering her a chipper, "Hi!"

Effie waves brightly as she goes by, "Hi!" She beams one of those wide Logo smiles and continues on her way to the pool before someone tries to talk her onto a treadmill. Running. Ew.

Chase wanders into the gym, some short distance behind Effie. Like her, he's got a small duffle bag and towel. But he doesn't just eye the treadmills funny … he gives them a wide berth, practically hissing at one in particular as though it was the spawn of Hades. "PT or not, I'm not running," he mutters balefully.

Bell is not at the treadmill. She's working the weights. Doing tricep squeezes at the moment. She snickers at Chase as she notes him hissing at a treadmill. It's not a particularly soft laugh, and it's nasal quality sort of carries.

Effie glances back and almost falls through the doorway into the pool area. From in there can be heard a long muffled curse ending with, "… frakkin' hades."

Chase frowns briefly at Bell's laugh. Unable to quickly decipher whether or not it's a good laugh - i.e. a nice one - he ejects the matter from his consciousness, choosing instead to focus in the direction of Effie and her curse. "Ten points for creativity," he comments automatically.

"Shaddup," comes a muffled reply from the other room. At least she didn't fall into the pool. SPLOOSH. Wait, yep. She did.

Bell winces at the sounds of near-falling and cursing. "You okay!?" she pipes in the direction of the pool area. Sounding unsure if she means Effie or whatever Effie might stumble into. The splash convinces her all is well, though. Profanity probably means Effie won't drown. She eyes Chase when she sees him frowning. "Are *you* okay? You look…perturbed." She says the word as if she randomly saw it on a 'word of the day' calendar and is testing it.

Chase blinks at Bell, and then offers up a slow shrug, putting plenty of meaning into it. "It's been an odd week," he tells her. "I'm experimenting with having a social life, and it's not going well. So I'm off for a swim. At least I wouldn't be the first one to fall in today."

"Experimenting?" Bell sounds curious. She giggles again at whatever image that puts in her head. "Well, have fun. Don't fall in! And 'odd' is a totally better way of putting *every* week these days." She offers him a parting nod, before returning to her weight-squeezing in earnest.

Chase tosses something like a wave at Bell, before he goes to see if the same doom that claimed Effie will claim him as well. "I'll try," he tells her solemnly.

Pool Genesis - Deck 9
40 ACH 6285 Souls

The pool here is almost olympic-sized. The water is roped at times for those events when the crew have their own type of racing and water sports. There are also lockers, showers and benches around the area.
-----< Condition Three - Public Area >----
Contents: Chase Effie

Exits: [G] Gym

Treading water and removing soaked through sweats is not easy. Luckily, she's accomplished at things like this. She's a multi-tasker, she is. A sealed granola bar goes crinkle in the pocket of her sweat pants as it's pulled above the water, and wetly slapped to the once-dry floor. SPLAT. The sweatshirt is a little more difficult to tug off, sucked to her skin as it is. Eventually, SPLAT issues forth again, and the sweatshirt joins the pants in a soaked, watery heap. Effie's fringe is spiked a little, while the rest of her hair, blonde and brown, has gone from curly tail to plastered-to-neck. Let's just say she meant to do that.

Chase emerges into the pool area not that long after Effie takes her impromptu dive. Unlike her, he stops short of the edge, and watches as wet clothes go flying in his general direction. "Huh. Think I've had fantasies about this sort of thing," he declares absently. "I hope this one doesn't involve a shark, though."

"Don't say SHARK!" The soaked mostly-blonde woman hisses from the pool. "What is wrong with you?" Effie pushes off the side and proceeds to swim in a manner of someone who is pretending they meant to fall into the pool—er jump into the pool with impromptu vigor.

"Um… you want that alphabetical, chronological, or by person?" asks Chase, taking the question at its face value. "Because depending on who you ask, there's either a lot of little things wrong with me, or just a few very profound ones." He sheds his sweats in the traditional, land-bound, fashion, folding and piling them neatly.

"This is a Battlestar. By person would take frakkin' forever. I mean, every asshole's got an opinion." Effie pauses in her swimming, and treads water in place. "Wait, I think I said that wrong." She squints a bit, then shakes her head. "Whatever. Anyway, just gimme the plot summary."

Chase wanders over, and sits down on the edge of the pool, legs dangling in the water by Effie so he can talk to her more on her level. "The long and short is that I'm really, really good at what I do, but horrible at dealing with people. Inevitably, I say or do the exact wrong thing. So I might as well warn you now, so you don't think I'm completely incompetent like some people do."

"How come you think warning me makes a difference?" Effie thinks about that for a minute, then shrugs, "I guess it does. So that's fair. Ok." Sometimes her brain takes a bit to catch up with her mouth. "So who are you again, and what is it you do that you're so good at?"

Chase offers up a long, lazy shrug, packed with multitudes of meaning. "Could be another idea that doesn't work. But Snatch looked at me like I was a complete moron for not understanding what she was saying, and Crow practically threw me out an airlock…" He switches directions to answer the next set of questions. "Chase Alderman. Deck tech. Fixer of stuff. They told me I had to get a social life and stop trying to hog all the Vipers for myself."

Effie isn't good with multitudes of meaning. Mostly because it takes her long enough to nail down one, and even then it's not always right. "Crow got busted down and stripped of his callsign, and Snatch is called Snatch." Effie glances around and tips her chin toward the water a little. "Between you and me, woman runs around with a nickname like that gotta few issues upstairs. Not that I'm talking bad about fellow enlisted, but half the time I feel like I should be drunk before I call her that." She pauses. He just said something that registers. "… Alderman. You's the guy who keeps swoopin' up all the engines, ya bastard!"

Chase comes back with the uncensored reply of, "When she told me her name - one of the few intelligible things she said in that dialect of hers - I wanted to ask if she had a partner named Grab. But the timing was all off." He pushes off the ledge, letting the rest of him drop into the water in a relatively smooth manner. Much more controlled than, say, Effie's entry. "You know me then? I like engines. They're some of my favorite parts, because the pilots always abuse the hell out of them and they always need adjusting and fixing and stuff. I'm sorry, did you want some?"

Effie snickers and sinks a little so that it becomes more of a burble of bubbles. "Engines is my favorite parts," she tips her chin up to say this, just in case Chase isn't familiar with the drowning victim dialect of bubbles to water. "Effie Logo." She gives him the rival stare. Any minute now a tumbleweed will roll by.

Chase looks Effie right on back, meeting her gaze. No… her eyes are higher. It's hard to have a good eye-to-eye standoff with a blonde in a bathing suit. But this is business, not pleasure. "There's lots of engines," he allows. "I know your name. I keep seeing it on the logs."

"You leave me some or something bad might happen to your toolbox." Effie tries to be ominous, but it's a little difficult when you're floating about in a bathing suit after you just fell face first into the pool. Still. She tries. "I went on the last Demo sweep to the planet, you know." She throws down another proverbial card. Or is that gauntlet. "I get stuck with much more electrical, I'ma start huntin' you down." She resettles her glasses on her nose. Which she forgot to take off. Which now have droplets of water on the lenses, making everything a bit blurry. Which sort of detracts from her threatening-ness. Or does it?

Chase blinks at Effie, trying to decide just how seriously to take her. Wet blonde vs skilled technician. Ultimately, he opts for the better part of valor, and says, "I can take the electrical and electronics. I mean, where I really excell is in damage control and mechanics, but I guess we can share. To keep the peace. And stuff. And I don't want you to risk the boobytraps in my toolbox."

Effie regards the redheaded tech with a dubious eye. She slides her glasses off and folds them. "Good, cos I'm an engine girl. Even if I'm good at electrical, doesn't mean I like it. Girl has to get her jollies some place." It's not like she goes on leave. Actually, she's sneaking extra hours on the Deck a lot too. Weird how they never met till now. Cosmic. "I kinda suck at damage control, but don't tell anybody." She swim-swims a little closer, and extends a hand. "Peace kept."

Chase takes the hand, and shakes it, looking at Effie solemnly. "I won't tell anyone. I'm very good at keeping other peoples' secrets, even when I accidentally blurt out embarassing anecdotes about my own life," he says. "And we definitely want you to get your jollies, as long as it's not the sex in the laundry room kind. Agitating washers indeed."

"I got batteries for that," Effie replies, shake firm. She does a bit of an eyeshift as she realizes she's just said that right to someone with whom she works. Shrug. She releases his hand. "Besides, that thing about washers is a myth. You gotta get a really lopsided load to get the thing bouncin' around enough. One summer I tried it, but it didn't work so good." When you're digging the hole, why stop at batteries? "You got stuck patching Hound's viper yet?" Abrupt subject change. "He comes in with more holes than a top shelf Caprican Brothel."

Chase nods as Effie tells him this, taking in the information solemnly. "Lopsided load. Got it." He furrows his brow, mentally sorting through the various Vipers he's seen come and go. "I've had him a few times. I don't know how he still flies it. I'm tempted to draw little bullseyes around the spots that have been repaired, and see what happens."

"I got a whole pack of permanent markers in my bunk," Effie supplies, apparently more than willing to lend a hand. "Deck code of honor, nobody tells who did it, nobody goes down for it, right?" Sure. "Or we blame it on Chalks." Every boat has a Chalky.

Chase fires off a quick, cheerful grin, the first one so far for the night. "I'll be your alibi if you'll be mine," he offers in return. "Can we also put itching powder in Crow's cockpit for good measure? Or is that pushing it?"

"Well they wear them sealed flight suits," Effie shrugs and says, "So really we'd prob'ly just get some unsuspectin' deckie as forgot his gloves, then where would we be? Cos you know who they're gonna suspect." She gives Chase a look. "And anyway, we can just muck up his seat adjustment before a CAP."

Chase releases a long sigh, and briefly ducks underwater. Once he emerges, he says mournfully, "It was a great idea, but short-sighted. Damn. Yours is better. I'm new at the prank thing, I'm afraid. And need to stay out of trouble. For now."

"Everybody'll just think I did it." Effie flashes a wide, trademark smile. It doesn't inspire confidence in everyone. "I been pranking for years. Trick is doing just enough so they don't beat you. Physical violence is not my thing. Unless I have to. And even then it's pretty icky." And lo, she is military.

Chase fixes Effie with another look, head tilting as he tries to revise initial impressions of her to fit in this new pranking factor. "I hear you with the violence," he agrees. "More likely to fall on my face than kick someone in theirs. I just try to do my job and not blow anything up. Um, everything else just happens, you know? Like the ketchup incident."

"I didn't hear about the ketchup incident." Effie eyes Chase. "Did it involve officers?" She hmms and continues, not waiting for a reply (he can always make one when she finally stops talking, which has to happen eventually). "See, if I tried to actually kick somebody in the face, I'd just pull something and fail." She hmms. "Sometimes my job involves blowing stuff up. I did it for a couple years, and I got good enough at it that they trust me with high explosives now. Scary, isn't it?" Another wide grin follows. She falls into pools and they let her touch—best not to think about it then. "Doin' your job always wins points when the people who decide if we ever get to sleep. Haven't had any problems here, course I haven't really been here long enough to get into any real problems. Just since the last supply ship, which I guess has been a while now, but not a while in the sense of real world time, you know, when you're not worried about flaming Cylon death." Pause. "Not that I am, it's just that some people are, and it harshes the collective… mellow." Breath time.

Chase pays attention for most of the monologue, his focus only drifting a few times as he tries to keep track of the high points. Once he finally has the opportunity to respond, he tells Effie, "The ketchup incident… well, more of a condiment incident, is why they don't let me work in the mess hall even when I want to help cook. The ceiling may never be the same again." Sigh. So tragic. Science go wrong. "And I think I'm both frightened and strangely intrigued by the thought of you and explosives. As long as I'm in back of you."

"Here I thought the ceiling was some kinda postmodern art thing. I don't understand painting." Science and food should never mix. It only leads to badness and highly unstable rocket-like empanadas. "Oh, considering the blast radius, behind me wouldn't be safe either, unless you were behind a really thick wall made of something pretty darn impervious." She sweeps a hand over her hair which does little to ease the mess. It's ok, though. It's pool hair. "Don't think about it too much. You'll have nightmares and then where will we be?"

Chase responds quickly, "I'll be under my bed in the fetal position, sucking my thumb. And unless I'm really lucky, you'll probably be far away, sleeping like a baby in your own bed, oblivious to my nocturnal anguish." He stops and thinks for a second. Maaaaybe that wasn't what he really meant to say, but too late now.

Effie doesn't immediately slap him, so chances are good it doesn't clue in for her that he just said. Not that she goes right to slapping. Or that she would if she actually— nevermind. "Way I figure it, our bunks ain't that far apart. Same department, same—You ain't the one that talks about trout in his sleep are you?" Effie eyenarrows Chase.

Chase blinks several times at Effie. "Trout? Good grief, no. I hope not. That would probably be indicative of even worse problems than I suspected. No, but if you ever hear me muttering about salmon, let me know immediately."

"… You ain't the one who farts in his sleep…" Effie has a whole list to ask, probably, but she starts with the most offensive ones. Best to know just who you're dealing with right off.

Chase shakes his head immediately. "No no no. I don't fart in my sleep, I don't snore, I don't sleep naked, I don't whack off when I think no one is looking in the middle of the night," he says, trying to anticipate any other nocturnal character flaws that might lower his approval rating in Effie's mind. Once again, he probably should have stopped five or ten seconds earlier.

"Oh, so you just whack off whenever you feel like it no matter who's around." Effie raises a fist. "More power to ya, man. Do your thing, right." She splashes a little as she drops her hand to the water again. "Everybody's so tense around here all the time. I think it should be mandatory. And if they're bad at it, people should get free coaching. Not that I'm volunteering. I mean, that would just be weird. I bred dogs once, but really all you gotta do with them is lettem sniff each other's butts and they'll mount anything…" If these two ever get into a conversation with the Brass together, the whole department is doomed.

Chase splutters as he realizes what he said and how it was interpreted, and once again, when Effie trails off, he goes under the water. This time, he seems ready to stay under until he's not so embarassed, or maybe until he drowns, or both. But the survival instinct is strong in this one, and he finally resurfaces. "Er," he says brilliantly. "I think you killed my brain."

It IS a while until Chase resurfaces, so much so that the mostly-blonde mechanic thinks about a rescue mission. Finally, she jut replies to the soggy tech, "Aw," Effie blinks, all innocent like. "Were you using it?"

"Not especially," replies Chase. "But it was -my- brain. I've had it all my life, I was used to it, I was fond of it, and even if I wasn't using it, I liked knowing it was there. If my brain is dead, I'll have to become a Marine!" Clearly, he's thought about this already.

Effie floats and treads water, tread, float, float tread. "… Ew. Then you'd have to run up and down stairs a lot and grunt and sweat." Horror! Oh, horror. "And… stand in front of bullets." She frowns. "And wear those ridiculous fatigues." Yes, because day glo orange coveralls are so much more fashionable. "Your brain's probably just playing dead. Have a little sit down, threaten it with extensive PT and grunting, and it'll perk right up. Unless it thinks you mean sex, then I expect it'll go back to dead, as male neural networks often do, and all the blood flow will re-direct to perking up an entirely different system." She pauses, considers this, then asks, "Got any gum?"

Listening to Effie is like trying to pilot a Viper with one's feet: you never know what direction you'll go in. Chase is forced to stop and actually think about the gum issue. Finally, he informs her, "In my other pants, maybe. And I'll do anything to make my brain live, because I'm too fragile to be a Marine."

No matter the topic, Crewman Logo take it in stride. It's either because she's partly blonde, she misses half of it, or, in probably the most horrifying option of all, she just isn't phased by much. "If it's not too linty, I'm dying for some. Heck, I'll just pick the lint off even if it is. Gum, not your brain." She snorts. "I'm too allergic to running up and down stairs to be a marine. They'd probably take my granola bars and chain me to a treadmill for hours every day." Wide-eyed horror. This conversation might be phasing her. A slight alarm has crept into her expression. "We have to stop talking about this before _I_ have nightmares."

Chase fires off another lightning-quick grin at Effie. "Please, please never become a Marine. You're way too cute as you are now. You'd be ruined as one of them. So um, yeah. New topic. We've touched on work, pranks, fears, and sex. Good roundup so far."

Effie swims, read: treads water in a particular direction, to the edge of the pool, and reaches up to fish around with her clothing, flicking it over and spreading it out a little as if that'll help it dry faster. "Aw, you're just sayin' that in case I get adventurous with your tool box. But I think it's sweet anyhow. You're right, no need to mess with natural beauty." She nods along with the summary of topics. "What we ain't discussed is where you're from. And, of course, how come you enlisted."

Chase floats in place a little, apparently considering this to be a perfectly acceptable expression of exercise. "Believe me, I'm not suave enough to be cunning. Eventually, I'll realize that you really are a woman, just in time to trip and hit something with my face," he says honestly. "Like the treadmill yesterday." He then explains, "I'm from Caprica. And I enlisted because they wanted to pay me to muck about with the sort of stuff I'd play with for free. It seemed like a good deal to me at the time."

"Of all the things I'd play with for free," Effie observes, "Engines is the only one they'd pay me for. The military, anyhow." She mulls this over for a moment, or maybe she's mulling what he's said. "Whatcha mean really are a woman?" She glances down. "I got all the parts in the right places." She leans forward a little, as if telling a secret, "I know, because I checked."

Chase gives Effie another look. Okay, more than a look, contemplating the whole issue of curvy mostly-blonde once more. Then he tells her solemnly, "I think everytime I start thinking of women as women instead of coworkers or something, my brain short-circuits. Next thing I know, I've spilled coffee on myself, or fallen flat on my face, or said something immensely stupid. Like right now."

Effie blinks those wide brown eyes and considers this statement. Not very long, but she does sort of give a bit of a pause before she replies, "Is it the boobs? I get that a lot, on account of how big they are." She's so helpful. "But, if you think about it, you're surrounded by them every day, so why should they make you spill your coffee?" She hms. "Unless you ain't had a woman in a long time. Oh, has it been a long time?" Appropriate questions for the workplace… not really an issue anymore.

Chase frowns, looking thoughtful. Boobs, what boobs, he didn't notice any - oh yes, there they are, hard to ignore them. "Who knows," he finally says. "Maybe I'm just not cut out for social stuff. I do great on the job. Which is probably why I don't date much. Work is a lot easier to handle in the long run. And then there's all those pesky fraternization issues, like when and where is it okay, and chain of command and safe ranks versus non-safe ranks, and whether or not it's smart to date coworkers…"

Effie folds and unfolds her dark framed glasses. She tips them up to the light to see how badly the lenses are smudged. Still very wet, of no use, so she folds them again and tosses them atop her soggy sweats at the side of the pool. "Girls ain't all that much different than engines. They got parts, they work a certain way. You just hafta give 'em a little finesse. Go through the toolbox, and try out different approaches, you know? Pretty simple stuff. Once girls figure out you got the agile hands of a mechanic, you don't hafta work that hard. Some girls don't even care about the talking. So you find you one of them who isn't, what, an officer or a direct superior, I think." She's thinking again. "I mean… well, I didn't really pay much attention when we talked about this part. And I was stationed planetside before, so it wasn't even an issue. Civilians everywhere." You can almost hear the gears grinding to a halt. "Yeah, you know. That's why I have batteries."

Chase tilts his head slowly as he listens, and contemplates, and thinks. Finally, he peers at Effie. "Batteries don't work so well for guys," he informs her. "Leastways, none of the gadgets I've seen." A new thought strikes him. "You know, we're like, same department, same rank or thereabouts, different shift… and so far so compatable in the talking category. You want to maybe get dinner together sometime? Or the closest equivalent thereof, given our options around here? "

Effie reaches for a two hand grip on the side of the pool. She kicks up and hauls herself half off the edge. With one knee out, one leg in, she glances over at Chase. She kind of teeters there for a moment, half in, half out. "What?" Finally, she remembers to haul the rest of the way out before her arm strength fails her. Effie sits on the edge with her soggy pile of clothes, and reaches for the towel/duffle combo she dropped nearby before accidentally propelling herself into the water. "You asking me to help you with your girl problem? Because I tried to set up some of my friends once, and neither of them have spoken to me since their you-know-what piercings got stuck together this one time they decided to do it in a public lift, and it turned out the cop who got the call was an ex of the girl and he took photos. And then mailed them to her parents."

Chase props himself against the edge of the pool so he can peer up at Effie, blinking in surprise. "Huh? What? No! I mean… erk. Not like that. I mean good gods, you're cute and sharp and definitely the only woman I've met recently who likes engines as much as I do, and so I want to get to know you better. And not in the sex in a lift kind of way, though I'm not saying I wouldn't want to have sex with you, in or out of a lift, but that's not what I'm looking for, you know?" Does -he- know? He may have tangled his brain in a knot.

Effie towels off a little with her feet still in the pool. She pats her arms dry, then leans forward to flick her hair over her head, and wrap it up in the towel. Her face is hidden for a moment. Her thought process is a mystery, with nary a frown or blink or other expression to inform Chase of her inner monologue. "… What." She flips the twisted towel back over her head and peers down at Chase, holding the towel in place. "You would have sex with me in a lift, but you don't want to have sex with me in a lift, because we like engines." She does her best to lay out the facts as she just heard them. "Oh, I like engines more than you, if we're keeping score." That, at least, she's clear on!

Chase takes a few seconds to clear his brain, and then he decides what the hell, he's already made a fool of himself, how much worse can it get. He climbs out of the water, and drip dries while he talks. Using his fingers to enumerate things, he says bluntly, "I like you a lot already. I want to get to know you better. I'm definitely sure we can be friends. At this point, I'm also fairly sure I want to have sex with you. It's okay if that doesn't happen because we're all entitled to wishful thinking. I'm sorry if I've gone about this all wrong. And I'm not sure how to quantify engine-love." There.

Effie straightens, and reaches back to tuck the end of the towel into the wrapped part behind her head, which lends a tiny bit of stability to the twisted tower of it. "Just accept that I love engines more than you, and you can take me out on a date," Effie supplies, simplifying things in a way that only Effie can. "Oh, and as for the rest of it," You knew it couldn't just end there. "… Ok, so yeah. You seem like a nice guy and you don't fart in your sleep, which is a total plus. I mean, once in a while is ok, but somebody down there is tootin' a symphony every dang night. Plus the trout-talker is way creepy. So I'm glad that's not you. I can put aside my engine animosity for your whole former engine stealing, on account of you didn't know how awesome I am and what a crime it is to deprive me of my true love." She gestures a little with one hand, now that her hands are free, "So I think we can try to be friends, but I have to get to know you more before I decide on that. I've been burned before." She points to him. "You don't secretly have designs on my hair care products, do you?"

Chase exhales with relief as Effie fails to slap him, shoot him, or otherwise crush his soul. "You can definitely have the engine-love superiority. There's so much else to love, anyway. Like thrusters." He shakes his head, enthusiastically at her. "Oh no. Your hair products are totally safe from me. Promise. And we can work out an engine detente and I'm open to forgiveness for my accidental transgressions." The third grin of the encounter is released. "It all sounds fair to me."

Effie left her soul crushing apparatus in her other pants. "I do love thrusters too, but my heart belongs to engines. I only cheat on engines with other systems when things get rocky, or I'm ordered." She nods. "Of course it's fair, I'm completely fair. It's my inner humanitarian manifesting all over the place." She pauses, and something peripheral occurs to her, "Oh, so Sister Greje said she would do a rite of Aphrodite for me, and I'm not really sure what all that entails, mostly because I've never been to one, but you know Aphrodite is totally sexy and all, so if I have to bring a date, do you think you would go? And…" Wait for it, "How do you feel about public groping? I mean, I don't think they do that in the chapel, but it's Aphrodite, right? I don't think sex has to be involved." Slight eyeshift. "Because I'll need some valium and possibly a case of beer if… so."

Chase is drying off with hos towel as he listens to Effie speak. As he's rapidly learned, he lets the words roll over him, rather than try to catch every single one. So it takes him a second to catch up. "Aphrodite? Um, yeah. Yes. I'd love to be your date. If you need one. I'm sort of fuzzy on the Aphrodite as well, but it can't be too bad. And I'm generally in favor of public groping as long as it's for the right reasons, and respectful and all that. And with the right people." Pause, think, add, "Hopefully we won't need valium or beer. That would kind of ruin the whole spirit of things."

Another slight eyeshift follows. Effie takes a moment to align her thoughts. Some of her thoughts. A few. It's a zoo in there. You have to pick your battles. "Um." What does one say after one's just solicited public sex from a relative strange(r)/co-worker. Um does it nicely. She picks up her glasses, and tosses them in her open duffle. The wet clothes are wrung out. "Good, well, that's a load off. Yay teamwork." Is the urge to flee normal after polite conversation? "I have to go shower before the water treatment makes my hair go funny colors." That happens sometimes. "Um. Chase. Good to meet you. And good talk. Oh, just leave a note on my toolbox. It's the one with the stickers. Don't open it, because you might lose a finger, but you can touch it so long as you don't jostle it around too much."

Chase has, as it happens, probably hit his own conversational threshold. If he stopped to think about it, he'd be toast. "I'm glad we got to talk," he tells Effie. "Trust me when I say this was more fun than most of the conversations I've had this week … and less demoralizing by far. I'll be careful with the toolbox. I need my fingers."

"Yeah, you do." Effie states that with a little too much enthusiasm. She nods, and then turns and flees for the showers. "Not what I meant!" But then why is she fleeing? Oh, who knows. Look, she left a granola bar! It may be a little soggy.

Chase lets Effie flee, taking a moment or two to decompress and let his brain process things. Smart guy, occasionally slow on the uptake, not entirely sure what he's gotten himself in for. He picks up the granola bar, and holds on to it. A souvenier. Or trophy. Or glass shoe. Take your pick.

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