There it was, out in the open. She supposed their little affair back on Centauri couldn't continue now that Alexis was her superior officer and they were serving on the same ship. It wasn't an outright rejection, though Maki often wondered if the war would ever end. For her, it had spanned two generations already. She wondered if a third generation of Nishizumi would be fighting in it still long after she was gone. Well, not her own offspring.
Still, the pilot understood Alexis' words. She was captain of the Lincoln, and charged with making decisions that sent thousands of men and women into danger. She could not let feelings for one pilot jeopardize the crew or the rest of the 7th, even if Maki would have fought against the hordes of hell for the captain. Well, anyone on the Lincoln, really. Which was why she served best in a MAS and not on the bridge, Maki supposed.
What was it her previous squad leader had said about her? Pilots like you never get promoted, Nishizumi. The UEE can't afford such talent to be sent behind a desk.
Maki watched the exchange that followed with a furrowed brow. Coalition soldiers rarely walked up to talk to UEE soldiers even in the FEZ. The fact that said soldier had handed Alexis a holopad boded worse. Her suspicions were confirmed when Maki heard the voices of Alexis' family playing from the video, barely audible over the noise of the bar. Unfortunately, she heard too the unmistakable sounds of explosion and "Cerol".
The captain rushed off in a hurry, and Maki made to follow, but not before thanking the Coalition solder. "Probably doesn't mean much coming from the enemy, but thank you... in spite of the circumstances."
The gesture of the delivery at least meant there was some decency left in the god awful fucking war. Right now, however, she was done being nice to the enemy. She had a captain to comfort.
She found Alexis in some quiet room, an oddity on the station. There was little she could say that would comfort Alexis. She knew that from experience. Her father rarely had shore leave and it had always been hard watching him ship off wondering if it would be the last time Maki would ever see the legend that was her father. Then one day it was someone else in the UEE uniform knocking on her door."You know, everyone knows about my father and the legend he was, and my career record makes them think I'm a chip off the old block."
She began, talking about a part of her that not even anyone on the 7th knew about. "It's always meant as a compliment... but I just want to scream at the idiots. My father's grave is empty. The Coalition was so terrified of him they slagged him in his mech even after it was disabled... and I had to get one of his wingmen dead drunk before they'd tell me what happened... I'm rambling."
She walked up and gave Alexis a hug. "I guess I'm trying to say I know what it feels like, I've been there. I can't take the pain away or make it better, but I understand, captain, what you're going through."
The embrace grew tighter as the Japanese woman recalled the grief and pain she felt at her father's funeral, old wounds reopening. Tears began welling up in her own eyes, since she hadn't truly been able to mourn her father. The funeral and enlistment took place almost immediately after and distracted her, and now the weight had caught up. "Fuck me. Guess I never really cried for the old man until now. Look at us, eh? The fearsome women of the Lincoln."
She managed a watery chuckle as she rubbed away her own tears.
Maki broke the hug and fished out a flask of alcohol, passing it to Alexis. "Nicked this from Gerard a long time ago to see if he would notice. It's apparently some of his stronger stuff. Guess now's a good a time as any to open it up."