Elisa emerges from her room later than usual, taking a quick and solitary breakfast. With Goliath padding after her, she peeks in on the baby, not disturbing anyone nearby, just seeming to want to see the little one healthy. Then she goes in search of Birgitta.
Birgitta is in the engine room, which is practically her second room. She's got a paint easel set up so that she is facing the entryway of the engine room so that she can tell when somebody comes in to visit. The engine seems to be behaving smoothly, and by that it isn't sparking with the reminders of Nicholas and Luke's past adventures. The easel is currently blank though, and the woman is crouched down going through her small box of paint supplies.
She looks up once she spots Elisa and her dog. "Morning there, Elisa, come on in to my workshop," Birgitta greets the woman as she sets a brush down in her box of supplies. "Hope the engine don't bother Goliath none. They sometimes get a bit loud, though she's runnin' smooth today. You get a bit of sleep last night?" she asks.
"Nope, the engine isn't a problem," Elisa says, gesturing to Goliath. The dog is looking around interestedly - he hadn't spent much time in here prior. "Probably good for him to get used to all the noises it can make so he can distinguish them from trouble. And I did sleep some, though I did a lot more thinking that sleeping, it seems."
"Anyway, I won't stay and bother you since I can see that you're working," Elisa says, gesturing to the easel. "But I wanted to say thank you. For sparring with me last night. It's pretty rare for me to get worked up that way, and I guess I really needed that vent. So thanks."
"Feel free to let 'im nose around here a bit then. Though he might want to keep from gettin' too close to the spinning parts. Don't think that'll be a problem for the big guy though. He seems a smart one, Goliath".
Birgitta shakes her head at the comment about working. "Oh, I ain't workin'. Blank slates can keep, and just checkin' on my painting supplies a little bit to see what all I got left," the woman explains to Elisa. "Dull stuff, really. Though I had to do it a bunch more back when I was trying to make a living off my paintin'. Worst part about the profession, doin' the inventory and making late night runs to desperately try to find some black paint when you realize you've gone and run out with a piece due the next morning". She actually does smile at that memory, even if it was only a few months ago now.
"And you're welcome. Stuff like that happens, you gotta let it out. Otherwise it'll eat you up. Didn't do right bad either, though we'll teach you a proper left hook yet," Birgitta teases lightly.
The mechanic gestures around to a couple of the little ledges. "Feel free to take a load off if you like, actually. Won't promise they're going to be like sittin' on your favorite couch, but you can feel the engine hummin' when you do. Relaxin', once you get used to it".
At Birgitta's suggestion, Elisa gives Goliath a nod, and the enormous dog begins carefully investigating the area. He does stay well back from the moving pieces of engine, but now and again his tail drifts a little close and he gets startled. When he begins nosing around Birgitta's paints, Elisa calls him over. She has taken a seat, and Goliath settles at her feet. At the teasing, Elisa smiles.
"I used to be better at the whole hand-to-hand fighting thing before this," she says, gesturing to her leg. "Always came in handy on a job. I'd rather it not come to that, really, but anything you can teach me wouldn't go amiss."
Elisa massages her hand where there's a slight bruise from the punching of the night before.
"I notice I'm not the only one less than happy with the current arrangement," she says, and her mouth tightens. "You seemed to take it pretty hard yourself."
"Might be best to teach you a bit of area control with respect to your hand-to-hand fighting then. If you can control a small area around yourself rather than worry about going into the group of attackers, it should make it a bit easier on you if you find yourself in that situation," Birgitta suggests to Elisa, finding a post to lean against. "Though a good bit of armor to deal with the gorram guns won't hurt either," she adds. "You got any other type of hobbies by chance?"
Birgitta offers a little bit of a shrug at that. "Well, can't say I much care for having our enemy on the ship. She knows a bit too much about us for my liking, and I won't say I'm comfortable about her having weaponry built into her shuttle. But, if she did want to kill us, she'd have done that, and if she can cure Mary Lou, then we'll do what we have to do about that. That and I can't figure out if I prefer understanding what she says and seeing her face or not knowing a word she's saying with her mask on," Birgitta adds. "And that she's willing to shoot first doesn't fill me with confidence. But we've all gone over this before in our heads or at the table, too. She's a proven risk and if not outright enemy, she doesn't have our interests near the top of her priority list or around the middle even".
There's a pause as Birgitta glances over at the engine, chewing her lip. "And her being here bothers me because it ain't a fair burden to put on you. Nobody should have to carry that. Worse than anything I saw in the war, to be honest. I've done it once, and I wouldn't wish it on my worse enemy, let alone someone I trust to fly the black with. I get a bit protective of the crew at times, I guess. Which don't make much sense given I'm the one who don't regularly pack a gun into our fights and some o'them get a bit nervous around me. But the good news is finding a bit of balance to make the time bearable. The hard part is figuring out where to find that balance to start with".
The mechanic smiles slightly. "Forgive me if all that wasn't spoken so pretty like. Suppose what I'm trying to say is that I been down the road you're currently on, and it's a gorram nasty one. You need a sparring partner or someone to talk to, feel free to come on by".
"Other hobbies? Besides him?" Elisa points at Goliath. "Actually, he's pretty good at controlling the area around me. And getting me out of that area when I'm in trouble. But he's only one dog, after all - we worked as a better team when he could do more fighting and less defending. So I started learning how to shoot, and it's come in handy. Mostly what I can do is thinking and seeking, not fighting."
Elisa listens quietly to the rest of what Birgitta has to say, nodding now and again. She swallows hard and speaks, stroking Goliath's head whenever she edges close to something that hurts.
"I meant what I said last night. I would never trade the safety of a child for my own...well, for my own anything. It wasn't really a question of what to do, not to me. Though I was touched your captain was even willing to let me say a bit before deciding for her. It's much more a question of whether or not I can look at her day in and out knowing what she's done." She sighs and Goliath licks her hand.
"I guess we have that in common, that we get protective of people. I know I do. Is that why you were standing with me outside the shuttle then? I wasn't sure if you had your own burden with her or if it was for my sake, but if it was for me, then I owe you another thanks - that was a real kindness. I guess I don't know why the others would be nervous around you, though. We're all a little funny in our ways, and you too, no offense meant you understand, but so far you've shown me nothing but being brave and smart and tough. Packing a gun or otherwise doesn't mean much if you can't use it, and you seem to know your way around a fight just the same. You've already pulled me out of trouble in Pale Horse, and you gave me something to think about beside hurting last night. Unless you turn out to secretly be planning to cook Goliath for dinner, I don't have any reason to be nervous around you. And if you do have any such plans, I think he'll have something to say about it." Elisa smiles a little.
"So that's kinda a long way of saying thank you. For standing with me and for sitting here now. It helps. And if I can do you the same help someday, I hope you'll give me the chance to pay you back for it."
"Take it at your own pace. I doubt we're going to be going on many jobs with her, so that should help. She seems comfortable enough being in her shuttle. She's not a real people person from what I can tell anyway, so unless she's got somethin' to say to one of us, don't know that we'll hear a lot out of her, for better and worse".
Birgitta glances down at the dog with a smile. "That he does at that. Like I said, just a suggestion I thought of off the top of my head," the woman says to Elisa easily. "And I thought you might like having someone else there during that whole thing outside the shuttle. Of course, watching the captain read her the rules had some appeal as well," Birgitta admits with a hint of a smile. "Some of them drive me nuts, but they work for him I reckon".
"As for bein' funny, no offense taken. My mother is the one-eyed woman, my father the fire-breathing man, and I was a child mime. Grew up on Paquin," Birgitta explains to Elisa with a smile. "Funny ain't an insult in any way to me, though I gave up the miming long ago. Helped me a bit when I had to learn sign language when my hearing got blown out though, I reckon". Goliath gets a glance and grin from Birgitta. "Nah. I think the meat would be a little tough on him. I like it chewable, and I prefer not to have a life and death struggle for a midnight snack".
Elisa then gets a nod from the mechanic. "Of course, anytime. And I never turn down a bit of help when I need it".
At the mention of the rules, Elisa chuckles. "They're something else, all right. And if things weren't what they are, I might have very much embarrassed the captain by breaking down giggling. I thought she was going to swallow her tongue once or twice. I guess it's a comfort to know she can be caught off-guard."
"Miming, huh? Interesting. A lot of the commands I use with Goliath are based off of sign language. I don't know sign myself, but David and I took the words we needed and twisted them a little into something easier for a dog to recognize and easier to do with one hand. Like this," Elisa snaps her fingers, then crooks her hand into a signal. Immediately, Goliath gets to his feet and takes up a position at the door, his posture reading "guard" as he faces out. "It's pretty simple stuff. But nice to be able to communicate with him without giving anything away."
As the idea strikes her, Elisa looks up a little more eagerly. "You've got the background, actually. I could teach you the signals I use for Goliath. Then you and I at least could communicate silently and even at a small distance without needing to text. That might be valuable. There are a lot of different signals - usually I can only teach two or three to people without the practice of learning them. And you should be able to teach me a few of your own as well, since I'm kinda used to learning them now. What do you think?"
"Sign isn't all that hard to learn. Had to learn it myself when I lost my hearin', though obviously I rely more on lip reading," Birgitta explains to Elisa. "Otherwise we might be having a tough time at havin' this conversation," she adds with a smile. She watches the signal and the dog's response to it. "Interestin' idea, and it's like when I was in the war a bit, too. We had our signals for what we wanted to do. Stuff a bit similar to that, though I wish some of the folk I worked with obeyed as well as Goliath". Her tone is casual now, more so than it was earlier. "It does look quite a bit similar to sign though, I can see the influence".
"That sounds like it'd be a pretty good idea, in case of the textin' system going out or being jammed. It's been known to happen," the mechanic agrees. "Most folk ain't got much of an idea how to read quick movements of the hand. Just something that isn't high up most people's list of things to learn".
"I guess I never thought of something like this in the war. I suppose it would have been useful to those who fought, though," and Elisa's face clouds over momentarily. "But don't get me wrong, Goliath doesn't always obey perfectly, either. Especially in a fight. He's pretty good with the 'come get me out of here before I bleed to death' command, but other than that he basically attacks anything he perceives as a threat and ignores me until things quiet down."
"Well, I'll tell you what, then. You teach me whichever signs you want me to learn, and I'll show you the signs I use for Goliath. Between them, we should be able to have a pretty good conversation without you needing to see my lips. Of course, it might just be 'hide, run, shoot, good job, go home,' but better than nothing! One thing, though - just because I teach you the commands, Goliath won't obey you if you use them on him unless he's in a particularly friendly mood. He's trained to only listen to me. Well, and David and Matt. So, just me now. Though I did give him a certain command as regards the captain, just in case. I always do, 'cause I never want something to happen to me and Goliath not know who to look to."
"Wouldn't expect him to listen to me. I ain't quite as good with animals as the captain is. I let the animal training to the others back when I was growin' up on Paquin," Birgitta says. "And I'm sure he does what he thinks is gonna be best in the situation".
The woman gives Elisa a nod about the signs. "They were pretty basic signs. Stop, forward, hide, that sort of thing. Single command signs aren't meant to be full of every little detail. If you got to think too hard about them, they ain't gonna serve much use to anyone," she explains. "There are some that can be more detailed when we ain't so much in a fight though. Little gestures in a meeting or something of that nature can pass opinions without other folk being none the wiser. Saw it once in awhile when I was trying to break into the 'art business' as they say awhile back. Didn't know what they were sayin', but the finger movements were pretty distinct if you know what those sort of things look like".
Elisa gets a glint in her eye as her smile widens a bit.
"Given our basic knowledge, I think we shouldn't have any problem trading enough sign to have a conversation. And if that conversation happened to include commentary on how...unusual our captain is, or some other such thing we'd rather keep private, that might be all to the good. Also, not to put too fine a point on it, there may be good reason to have a method of communicating that it's unlikely our new guest can hack into or interpret right away."
Elisa's face gets back the pinched look at the mention of Sekhmet, but she shakes it off and instead says, "I kinda like the idea of being able to tease the captain or the doctor or anybody else without them knowing. Think you can teach me some of those things, too?"
"Seems like it's got quite a few extra little benefits then," Birgitta agrees with Elisa. "Shouldn't be hard to teach the necessary signs, either. And teasing the captain of our fine vessel here is practically as much a sport here as basketball. Shame there isn't such a thing as rules reversal day though. Seeing him in a dress is a way to make every day seem a bit more cheerful," she offers with a grin.
At that the woman glances over at the easel. "You think he'd get too upset with me if I painted that portrait and happened to hang it in a place quite visible but quite hard to get at in the cargo bay?" she asks.
"If you can stand looking at that image every day, I'd say go for it!" Elisa laughs. "Of course, if anyone asks, I had no idea. And certainly I couldn't have stopped you even if I had known."
She peeks out the door to see if anyone is nearby, then pulls something from a pocket.
"Actually, I'd been meaning to put this up a few days ago, but things got so crazy and I forgot," she says, holding it out. It's a picture of a can of green beans in a red circle with a line across it, stating at the bottom, "Forbidden for YOUR security."
"I used to play little games like this with, oh, just about anybody who'd let me, I guess. I was going to put it up on the rules board, but I thought that might just get us a new rule and not make anybody laugh. What do you think?"
"Absolutely," Birgitta agrees with Elisa casually. "I completely threatened you if you told anybody, that's for sure, but it was a valiant attempt to keep me from putting that portrait up".
Birgitta looks over at the paper and laughs. "Might get us a new rule about not makin' fun about the rules if it was put there. I like the idea of puttin' it somewhere in the kitchen. Inside of the canned foods door maybe, or inside of one of the doors the captain doesn't use much but everyone else does," the mechanic suggests.
The gleam in Elisa's eyes gets a little more wicked.
"Or the picture could mysteriously appear and disappear, and it would get replaced if someone takes it amiss, of course. One day it's in the kitchen, the next on the rules board, the next in the captain's quarters. Of course, it would be a complete mystery who was responsible for it or where it would be next. And even Goliath wouldn't be able to track it, sadly enough. That would at least buy some time for your next piece of artwork to be completed."
She looks out the door again.
"I don't see anyone. Looks like we have a clear path if we want to get started. Are you game?"
"Curse those disappearing pictures," Birgitta agrees with a very serious and very exaggerated nod. "I think we could get started and get this affixed to one of the cabinet doors," the woman agrees. "Lets get moving and see if we can get it set up. If not, we can do it when folk are asleep proper".
Elisa hands the picture to Birgitta and stands. "If nothing else, it gives me the chance to practice working with Goliath on stealth," she says. "He's pretty good. I mean, dogs are natural hunters, so they know how to stalk prey, but he's lots better in the woods than on a ship or in a city. Let's see where we're at."
"Goliath," she calls, and the great dog pads to her feet. Elisa gives him a sign that looks vaguely like the true sign for "quiet," then gestures for him to follow her. Goliath takes up a position behind her, body tense.
"We'll follow you. I'm sure you'll be able to hide it if we come upon anyone, and since I'm just practicing with Goliath by sneaking up on you, I don't think anyone will notice."