hallelujahpilot: (in uniform)
The trouble with Hell's Gate is that one cannot simply vanish on days off. The best Trudy has ever been able to manage is the time she got stranded at the Naukograd for four days thanks to a hurricane. The radio-silence was nice; other things...not so much. Scientists tend to get neurotic when left to their own devices for too long, and Trudy and Schidmt had been too worried about their Samson being damaged to really enjoy said radio silence. All in all, she does prefer being at Hell's Gate.

At least, this is what she is telling herself as she buttons up her uniform's shirt and finds the spikes for her boots (not all the Marines wear the spikes, but Trudy'll take the extra grip they offer over an obscure sense of pride any day).

(And she is aware that she shouldn't be this annoyed, given she just ran off to Carl's Earth for three months, but days off are days off.)

Trudy knows what Grace is doing. Mostly. A little of it might just be an unthinking, Queen of the Lab, people-do-as-I-ask. But most of it? Putting Trudy through her paces. And Trudy can't really say anything - and wouldn't, because she's a Marine, and she's been there and done that in bootcamp - but it is getting to be more than a little annoying.

(and oh yeah, does she ever cop grief for it as she stomps her way out of the barracks)

At least for her sense of pride, she knows her way to the Avatar compound without having to ask directions. This is both a result of having lived at Hell's Gate for three years, and because the SecOps Marines use the obstacle course. The fact that she's bringing along her sketchpad (in a bag slung over the top of the filter-pack on her back) is also partly to make her feel better about being summoned; if she's being summoned by the Queen Bee, she might as well bring along something she wants to do.

(fine, sure, Grace's comment that Trudy'll have a better understanding of transporting the Avatars if she actually spends time with them and observes them makes sense, but there are principles involved)

Adjusting her filter-mask slightly, Trudy moves out into the unpressurized part of the complex, and then outside. It'd be beyond Grace to mention where she'd be, wouldn't it? Sighing briefly, Trudy shakes her head in an effort to shake off her bad mood, straightens her shoulders, and sets off towards the longhouse.
hallelujahpilot: ([n] to talk of many things)
There are practical reasons for Trudy to teach Norm the basics of flying and, ever practical, she does concentrate on these. The other reasons - that she takes a genuine pleasure out of his company, that something within her went 'oh, oh, oh okay' when she met him - is not something she particularly feels the need to analyse, or even discuss.

(the hints - not very subtle, for she is straight-forward and honest - are there if he wants them)

Still, lesson comes first, and has, and now she leans back in her seat in Maya's cockpit and says, "Any questions?"

If not, lesson over.
hallelujahpilot: (Default)
after this:

Carl's room is getting to be quite familiar, Trudy reflects as she helps him through the door. This isn't, she thinks, a bad thing.

Still, thank god for elevators. Just because she could, if needed, carry him up the stairs doesn't mean she ever wants to. Besides, there was a promise of something down in the bar, made with a kiss and all their glances, and she doesn't want that promise to be broken.

"Here we go," Trudy says, shutting the door behind them (and locking it) and watching him carefully. Despite the cheer, there is a genuine edge of worry to her gaze.
hallelujahpilot: ([young] gertrude maria)
There is a table. On this table is a small girl lying on her stomach - she's maybe nine, maybe a bit older, maybe a bit younger. Bare-foot, but someone has straightened her shoulder-length black hair (the natural curls are staging a rebellion, with little kinks all over the place). Clothes are second-hand, worn and patched with dirt here and there, but the red jacket dumped on the table is sturdier.

She has two picture books open, and a large sketchpad. There are coloured pencils spread over the table, and she's busy drawing something. Humming and idly swinging one of her legs in the air.

(Plants, as it happens, mostly copying from the books - one is on Earth, the other Pandora)

There is also a name-tag on the table, the kind that kids wear on excusion, with their name spelled out in big simple letters. The tag read 'Gertrude C' when she'd been handed it, but the girl has crossed out the 'Ger' and tried to turn the last 'e' into a 'y'.
hallelujahpilot: (always move forwards)
In retrospect, maybe she shouldn't have agreed to Carl and his 'one night wouldn't hurt'. She's certainly calmer, but also a trifle off-balance. Her sense of day and night and hours passing has been messed up - again - and, frankly, her mind is a little too full of things she could be doing. Like Carl, actually. That would be a far more productive use of her time instead of...this.

'This' consists of Trudy sitting in the bio-lab's conference room, as close to the door as she figures she can get away with. She's early, because she was raised to be punctual, and doodling, because she's bored. Given the temper-tantrums thrown this morning when she informed today's group that flights were cancelled due to the massive storm....

Well, she isn't holding out much hope for the scientists to play nice and pretend to be adults.
hallelujahpilot: (laughing with her hair down)
after this:

Let's rock )
hallelujahpilot: (spear-strength)
Trudy hates waking up to clusterfucks.

--

She gets the SITREP from McKnight, finds her normal desk in the war room (shared, of course, with several of the other CWOs and whoever else needs a desk), and starts to read.

It would be unprofessional to start swearing at it.

At least, it would be unprofessional to start swearing before she finishes reading the first page.

(she manages to bite her tongue until page three)

--

Disadvantage of being on beta shift: the people she wants to talk to right now are on alpha, and so have cleared off. Well, most of them have.

"Hi, Patel."

Dr Max Patel (a.k.a. the man who has made a career on Pandora of trying to pick up after Augustine) doesn't look like he's looking forward to this.

That's okay.

She doesn't really give a shit.

--

(Part of her anger is pure 'this wouldn't happen on my watch'.

She knows this.

She doesn't appreciate Patel pointing it out.)

--

(It's not the only cause of her anger. She's angry over the injuries, she's angry over the deaths - she's a Marine, it's only natural for her to be worried and angry over things that happen to her brothers-and-sister-in-arms.

She's also angry about the Na'vi deaths.

She's also angry because this all could have been avoided.

She's also angry because she's terrified that it's all just going to turn into a rerun of the Conquistadors and the New World, and part of her is screaming 'not on my watch')

--

The rest of her shift is normal, and yet frustrating. Surveys, maps, but after her tearing into Patel, the scientists jump whenever she so much as looks at them, which is not conductive to organizing sorties.

Fuck this shit, Trudy thinks, but takes a deep breath and keeps on working.

--

By the time her shift is over, she wants nothing more than to just head to her room, lock the door, and destress. Before, she might have gone seek out Frieda, because god knows that orgasms do amazing things for tension levels. But, well, that's not happening anymore.

For a moment, she's tempted to go to Milliways. Find Carl, see if she can walk him backwards into bed. But she doesn't, for a number of reasons - she likes their slow-but-sweet thing, and God knows that negotiating sex with a man from a hundred-and-fifty years in the past is going have its issues, and she just can't be bothered dealing with that right now.

Naturally, her vibrator is broken.

Resisting the urge to throw it across the room, Trudy shuts her eyes, forces herself to take a deep breath, and falls back against her bed. Then, she laughs, because it's either that or break something.

Fuck today.

Seriously, just...fuck today.

But in the meantime, there is nothing wrong with her fingers.
hallelujahpilot: (didn't sign up for this shit)
It's been a Day.

(she's had a lot of them lately)

And she misses flying.

(not much she can do 'bout that, although she's pretty sure Tia Dalma could turn her into an eagle if she really felt like it)

(Quaritch had an eagle tattooed on his arm)


(she doesn't want to be an eagle)

Not much she can do about either of them, though, except maybe get drunk. Yeah, she likes the idea of that.

(she's dressed to fit the times, although not exactly proper society. Ladies don't run around in breeches and loose shirts and knee-high boots and coats that go swish.

She's okay with not being a lady)
hallelujahpilot: (but there's no war here)
previously


The hotel is nice enough, but she pays attention to windows, doorways, alcoves and exists rather than any nicety of architecture. The room is a hotel room – there is something about hotels and rooms that is, it seems, ageless – and she dumps her bag on the couch before going to claim the bathroom. A decent trip plus beer at lunch and, hey, she's only human and really has to pee.

She stays longer than necessary, her head in her hands as she concentrates on the even tiles.

She's inside.

Four walls, artificial light, no need to hunt for a filter-mask because she's inside.

Inside.

(she could pretend she was home, but in all honesty, Trudy has no idea what home is anymore)

Pull yourself together, Chacon.


She gets up, flushes the toilet (thank god the buttons are easy enough to work out) washes her hands, takes off her holster and lets it clunk against the bench. She pulls her hair free from its tangled ponytail, splashes cold water on her face and runs her wet fingers through her hair. By the time her curls are damp, and more curl than frizz, she feels calm enough to open the door and walk – holster in hand – back out into the hotel room.
hallelujahpilot: (she's a loaded gun)
There is practice to let off steam, and there is practice because practice is important and can mean the difference between getting home in one piece and being, shall we say, eaten.

So the gun-range has a pilot today, albeit it one dressed in the Marine uniform instead of her flightsuit. She has a handgun instead of a rifle (her thigh-holster is empty - no point in practicing with a weapon you aren't going to use) and, like before, the bullet holes cluster around the bull's eye.

Judging by the number, she's been here for a while, and she is just sliding in her last magazine when she catches sight of someone approaching.

"Mornin', Jack."
hallelujahpilot: (bow my head)
Trudy considered herself monogamous. Just, serially monogamous. God only knew how much being posted to base to warzone to another tour and ‘oh, honey, I’ll have mid-deployment break in seven months’ had conditioned her to regard anything lasting more than several months as being an odd beast indeed. The fact that her longest relationship had lasted for over three years only because she’d been on a fifteen-month tour of Angola and hadn’t wanted to dump Portia Chen while on another continent was not a fact that had escaped Trudy’s notice.

Her affair with Frieda Watson had lasted two and a half years. It’d been quiet and sweet, and along with genuinely loving her, Trudy knew that the relationship had helped kept her as sane as she was. But…

But.

There was a difference between quiet and dying, quiet and dead, and in the last few months, their relationship had certainly been struggling. But quietly, in a way where the silence between them said far more than their voices did. Instead of comfort, there was absence, and strain, and a sense of duty about it all. And to be honest, Trudy wondered how much of this was true, and how much was retrograded bullshit to justify to herself the fact that she’d let all her freaking buttons be switched by an interesting man in a bar.

(she’d like to think that it was not too much retrograded bullshit, but the question remained.)

And damn, but Carl Benton was interesting. She had made it a personal rule not to date military, to try and stop herself from being entirely consumed by that macho, techo-and-metal driven world. But Carl was quietly military, with a love of nature’s beauty and a wild grin that matched hers, and she’d never found that combination before. He’d get things, like why when she was a passenger in transport, she’d sit or stand with one leg in front of the other, so if a bomb went off or a missile came in, she might only lose one leg, not both. He’d get why when people were killed, you just went back to work (until you couldn’t), and that it didn’t mean that you didn’t care, just that you had a damn job to do, and maybe you didn’t really want to talk about it (which had been a source of arguments, ever since Ing Schmidt and Walker and the others had been killed). He’d get things, without – and this was the important part - military being all there was. Still, for him to flip all of her buttons like he had, she had to have let him. She had to have let herself wonder, let herself flirt back, let herself want what he had to offer and what he had offered. It had to have been a conscious choice on her part, and she knew it.

Trudy was monogamous, but she was used to relationships being short and over. She loved, had loved Frieda, and maybe, maybe, maybe they could work at it, get over this. Even for the remaining six months…No, that wouldn’t work. What would honestly be the point, given Frieda was leaving, and Trudy was still here for another three years?

But the main thing was that Trudy was bored. This was not a nice thing to admit to oneself – far easier to blame the other person, and say it was them pulling away, their work-load, their failure to be interesting – but it was true, and she tried to be honest. She didn’t want to work at her relationship because she was bored. Her attraction to Carl was not a cause of anything, just a symptom and a by-product. A by-product she wanted to pursue, because he was interesting, and because she was bored.

Frieda Watson deserved better than that. Not to mention that drawing things out with Portia to let her down gently had only turned out to make everything a right clusterfuck.

These facts did not, Trudy reflected as she fell back against her bed and pulled her pillow over her head with a groan, make it easier to decide what to do. Simpler, yes, but easier?

God, no.

Not easier.
hallelujahpilot: (child of a dying world)
After the crash, it wasn’t only medics that came to poke at Trudy. This was, after all, the enlightened twenty-second century, and both the twentieth and early twenty-first had demonstrated, painfully clear, the effects of trauma on the psyche.

She said she was fine. Yes, she felt bad – damn bad – that her crew were dead, and so were the other Marines. Yes, Ing Schmidt had been a good – a damn good – friend. Yes, these things happened. No, she didn’t have nightmares, because she was on so much fucking medication she didn’t dream at all.

She was fine.

--

This was, and wasn’t, a lie.

--

She had some nightmares later, sure; nightmares reliving the sheer helplessness as Samson Three One had tumbled through the air and she’d wake up with the sickening crunch as the ‘copter hit the tree. But then again, wouldn’t everybody?

(but one time, she had the same nightmare for a week straight, until she didn’t want to sleep, let alone couldn’t.

That time, she said fuck it to her pride, and asked the docs for the sleeping meds)

--

The trouble, at least for Trudy, was that she was an artist. She thought, she lived, in pictures. She saw the world in snapshots and drawings. Unfortunately, when she shut her eyes, those snapshots would flick through, one by one.

Normally, her response was to draw. Draw the images and change them, draw them until they were no longer in her head, draw them so she could deal with them.

Unfortunately, this didn’t always work.

--

The first time after the crash that Trudy bounced, she was flying co-pilot with Muhammad Farzan, and the flickering out of the corner of her eyes was enough to make her distracted. The flickering was something that she’d lived with, ever since the United States government shipped her over to the Gulf as a shiny new infantry private. She’d learned to live with it, but now-

But now, after they landed, Trudy pulled her helmet off and buried her face in her hands. Her breathing was even enough that Farzan could tell it was deliberately measured, and her knuckles were white around her hair.

“Hey,” Farzan said softly, taking his own helmet off. “C’mon, Sky-tiger.”

’m fine.

“Bullshit. You nearly sprained your neck you were lookin’ over your shoulder so much.”

She lifted her head, and her gaze wasn’t very friendly.

“Shove it, Prophet.”

--

Farzan didn’t back down. He had known her since flight school, and he knew what she was like when she was off-balance, and he knew what she was like when she needed to go and bleed out the mess in her head. And the trouble was that Trudy knew this, because she did the same to him. And she knew that he might be talking about not wanting her to crash another Samson because it’d be a bitch to replace, but really he was worried about her, and she might as well just concede defeat now.

(last time she refused to walk through the doors to the shrinks, he dragged her)

(then again, last time he refused, she threatened to tell his wife what an idiot he was being, so fair’s fair).

--

“Look, I just want the…flickering to stop. So I can fly properly.”

“Flickering?”

“Out of the corner of my eyes. It’s gotten…kinda bad.”

“Meaning…it was there before?”

“…sure, yeah. I mean, I’ve had it for years.”

“When do you first remember it?”

“I dunno. Since I was eighteen, I guess.”

“What happened when you were eighteen?”

Flatly, “I was deployed to Kuwait. As infantry.”

“Ah,” said the shrink, in tones that were partly oh, I see and partly this is going to take some time.

--

By the time Trudy left, she had a pounding headache and a firm conviction that she preferred getting the pins in her leg cleaned with pure alcohol than…whatever she just had to do. Hold the…images (flashbacks, snapshots, whatevers) in her mind’s eye (one at a time, which had prompted an argument about whether sky-ground-sky-ground-sky was one image or a series) as she watched the shrink’s finger move in front of her vision.

It was, the shrink told her, to wipe the image away.

Whatever, doc, she’d replied, and hoped to God that this wasn’t some messed up joke.

--

The flickering was a bit less, or so she hoped.

Maybe it was just the hope that it’d go away, but hope had never stopped her before.

--

She turned up for her appointment the following week.
hallelujahpilot: (Default)
It might only be 0850, but any day where Trudy Chacon has to start with last minute repairs to her Samson is already on notice. The repairs also mean that she can’t go and find whoever it was that gave her only one goddamn gunner.

Not that she has any problem with Corporal Bill Onozuki – he’s an old Pandora hand, and they get along swimmingly. It’s just that there is, well, only one of him.

Which is why when the Ph.D.s find Samson 16 in the hanger, Chacon and Onozuki are fixing the right hand door-gun straight ahead. If things come to it, she can operate it from the cockpit.

(lets just leave aside the fact that she actually finds it fun)

TEST

Mar. 20th, 2010 02:09 pm
hallelujahpilot: (child of a dying world)
Not being able to fly is a bitch. Oh, Trudy's still got work to do - teaching, mostly, because she's only allowed four-hour shifts - but it's not flying.

Also, the new batch of pilots are idiots. Good pilots skill-wise, but idiots. Pandora is not a game, not some damn holographic movie, and today Trudy is sick of trying to bash this through their heads. As soon as class was over, she took herself off to Hell's Kitchen.

It's between lunch and dinner, and so the cafeteria is mostly empty. This suits Trudy just fine, and the injured pilot has set herself up next to the big, rain-flecked window. Her leg in the cast is up on a chair, and her other boot is resting on the edge of the table. Against her thigh she has braced her electric drawing-pad, and she's busy sketching.

(and if the sketches are cartoony, and a bit violent, well, there's no one looking over her shoulder)
hallelujahpilot: (yes. and then I will kill you. or laugh.)
Thanks to her long relationship with Dr Frieda Watson, Trudy is quite familiar with the geology lab and its residents; the BioLab, not so much. Given she’s early (Chacon, we're placing you on the science work, McKnight had told her last night, and then had pointedly not answered when she asked, this is because I made the quip about the margaritas, isn't it?), she’s taking the time to look around. One wall of the lab, near the front where she is standing, is made up almost entirely of observation windows. Beyond these windows are large terrariums holding some Pandoran flora and fauna. Trudy peers into the closest chamber, filled with fern-like plants. Much to her disappointment, she is unable to see if there is anything else in there – be nice to actually take a look at Pandoran biota without it trying to kill her.

The next chamber is an aquarium filled with murky water. The window is huge, but she can’t see anything in the gloom. Out of the corner of her eye, she can see the distinctive figure of Dr Grace Augustine, and straightens, turning to face her. With a shocking suddenness a dark shape, much bigger than Trudy, materializes out of the murk and slams against the glass.

Trudy whips around, taking a step back as she does so. Despite her lightening reflexes, her hand doesn’t go for the hand-gun in her thigh-holster – she’s inside, and you don’t shoot things up inside. She’s fast enough to see the huge jaws of some kind of armoured fish snapping shut, clacking razor-sharp teeth against the glass.

Trudy makes a bit of a face at the fish. “Now, that wasn’t very nice of you.”
hallelujahpilot: (Default)
POPULATION OF HELL'S GATE: 1500-2000

RDA:
Parker Selfridge; administrator; canon
Rob Parrish; bioethics officer a.k.a. the EP guy; 880-canon

SecOps:

Colonel Miles Quaritch; head of security; canon
Captain Vanessa McKnight; head of the pilots, unnamed blonde woman at Quaritch’s 1st briefing; canon/OC
Chief Warrant Officer Farzan; Samson pilot; OC
Corporal Lyle Wainfleet; Trudy’s main gunner, AMP suit controller; canon
Corporal Bill Onozuki; sometime gunner of Trudy’s; 880-canon
Private Sean Fike; infantry; canon

Chief Warrant Officer Ingrid Schimdt; pilot of Samson 31 with Trudy; OC, DECEASED
Chief Warrant Officer Jameson; gunship pilot; OC, DECEASED
Sergeant Charmaine L. Walker; Samson 31 gunner; OC, DECEASED

Sciences:

Dr Grace Augustine; xenobotanist, head of the Avatar program; canon
Louise; Avatar; canon
Dr [Eduard] Hegner; head of xenobiology, Avatar; 880-canon
Dr Brantley Giese; xenoanthropologist; Avatar; 880-canon
Dr Max Patel; unknown; canon
Dr Frieda Watson; geologist, miner, Trudy’s gf; OC

Medics:

Jesse Ruiz; veteran combat medic; OC

OTHER:

Marcia de los Santos; Freemedia Officer; 880-canon
hallelujahpilot: ([f] mi amora)
“Hey,” Frieda says softly sometime later, lifting her head off Trudy’s bare shoulder to look at her face. “Where’s your head at?”

Trudy blinks, frowns a little, still contemplates the ceiling of Frieda’s studio-apartment. “Dark places,” she says at last, fingers tracing patterns on Frieda’s hip.

“The crash?”

Trudy shakes her head. “No. Not really. Earth.” Tibet, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela – it never really mattered where, not really. Another hell-hole to fight and lose friends in. The worst had been Saudi, when Trudy had still been in the infantry. A twenty-two-year-old sergeant in one of the worst gunfights the century had thrown the US, and sometimes, very sometimes, she still woke up choking over the blood and dust her memory retained.

(That was when Trudy decided that if she got out of this alive, fuck being infantry.)

(The smell of death never changes – blood and shit and metal, and the stink of corpses. And half the time it doesn’t even matter on which side the corpses belong – either enemy or friend, you feel personally responsible for all of them.

All of them.)

Frieda watches her for a moment, and then pushes herself up. Sliding her leg over Trudy’s more (and being careful not to knock the cast), she straddles the pilot and grabs her hands, pinning them above Trudy’s head.

“Hey,” Frieda says, tossing her dark curls out of her face to peer at Trudy. “You’re not on Earth. You’re here. Pandora, with me.”

Trudy smirks up at her. “Yeah, I know that.”

(she also knows that Frieda’s going to go, too; go back to Earth in less than eighteen months, and be as gone as any of the dead)

(for a moment – a long, painful moment – Trudy is suddenly very, very aware of that fact)

Frieda sees the darkness pass over Trudy’s face, and leans down to kiss her. Soft and slow, lingering over her lover’s mouth. And Trudy responds in the same way, banishing memories and blood to the back of her mind.

And later, much later, she says, “I love you.”

It takes a long time for Frieda to reply, but when she does, she says, “I love you, too,” and means every word.
hallelujahpilot: (thou shalt not murder)
Dr Frieda Watson is working late in the GeoLab, which makes the New Zealand geologist easy to find. This suits Trudy just fine. She wheels herself over on a chair, and Frieda blinks, visibly dragging her mind away from her beloved rocks and crystals to this here and this now. Then she catches sight of Trudy’s face.

“Honey, what’s wrong?”

Trudy doesn’t answer straight away, just rubs her thumb along the edge of the armrest. Her expression is oddly tight, mouth pressed shut and jaw clenched. Finally, she says, “Walker’s gone.”

“Oh, Trudy.”

“They were…talkin’ about takin’ her off the life-support anyway, not getting any better, an’ all that. But she…she’s dead. Died anyway. I don’t…” Trudy stops, pressing her thumb along the metal edge of the armrest. “I can’t…I mean, I knew, I knew she was going to die, soon as I saw her after the crash, but…y’kinda…”

“Keeping hoping,” Frieda finishes for her.

“Yeah. Uh, that.”

“C’mere,” Frieda says softly, getting out of her chair only to sit on Trudy’s lap, knees either side of the pilot’s hips. Trudy wraps her arms around the other woman, shutting her eyes and pressing her face against Frieda’s shoulder. Frieda curls her arms around Trudy, and ducks her head to kiss the top of Trudy’s hair. Trudy doesn’t cry, exactly, even though Walker’s dead, Jameson’s dead, everyone except for her and Wainfleet and Ruiz are dead. Ingrid Schmidt is dead, and the pair had known each other so well they could predict each other’s movements. But Trudy doesn’t cry, exactly, just presses her face against her lover’s chest, and clings to her, and tries to keep her breathing steady as the damn tears run down her face.

Frieda doesn’t tell her it’s okay, because it’s not. She doesn’t say anything much except for soft, nonsense things in that lovely, ridiculous accent of hers. Eventually, once Trudy’s breathing has evened out again, Frieda asks, “You want to stay with me tonight?”

And Trudy says, “Please.”
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