Querl chooses not to question Lyle’s reluctance to open up the communications line even though he wants to; the other teen often has ulterior motives for the things he does and is generally reluctant to share them. Hopefully, in this case, he will eventually do so. It’s odd that when they’d first met, Querl couldn’t have cared less if Invisible Kid revealed his thoughts. But now, he was filled with a abnormal desire to hear the inner workings of his mind, and an even more abnormal sense of disappointment when it didn’t happen.
Best not to think too deeply on it, he supposes…
“Very well,” he answers after a moment’s hesitation, watching Lyle’s hands clench against the holoboards. “It isn’t as though we can do much good from here anyway…”
The mere mention of sleep makes him struggle to hold back a yawn, and before he can stop himself he’s reaching his arms over his head in a lazy stretch and blinking back tired tears. Perhaps Lyle is right. Exhaustion would only lead to impaired judgment and slowed reaction time, even in someone as intelligent as himself. He’d had difficulty functioning past nine thought tracks for the past week or so, as he’d been too fatigued to use all twelve. There was no harm in…
“No offense, but you look kinda awful.”
Surprised, Querl snorts loudly through his nose and stands abruptly, glaring down at Lyle with every intention of telling him where he can shove his unwanted opinion. However, upon seeing the mild upturn of Lyle’s lips (this is a jest intended to be playful) he quickly holds his tongue, mentally congratulating himself on recognizing and responding to the presented emotional stimuli in a timely fashion. In the past he would recognize the patterns, but rarely followed through with any sort of grace.
“Well,” he says, putting a mockingly affronted hand against his chest, “Metron forbid I don’t look pristine to greet the citizens! Shall I cream my face and put coldpaks on my under-eyes as well?”
Turning towards the bunk, he cautiously returns the small smile, feeling slightly awkward in doing so. Aren’t they still mad at each other? He certainly isn’t feeling any animosity, but there are no denying the lingering words in the air that he can’t seem to make himself say. In actuality he isn’t even sure what those words are.
In spite of the uncomfortable bunk, exhaustion hits him like a space cruiser the moment his body sinks down onto it, and he happily nestles down into the pillow despite its sub-standard size. A few feet away, Lyle is busying himself with the blueprints, and the soft sound of his breathing as he works lulls Querl into a doze before he can correlate why the simple act should be so innately soothing.
*Insert Dream Sequence Here*
When the Coluan stands abruptly, Lyle is sure the barely mended mood is about to be broken again. Grife, if only he’d held his tongue and not made a crack about—
But then Brainy… jokes. And smiles.
The Legionnaire is so gobsmacked he only finally lets out a surprised laugh after Brainy has turned from him and headed towards the bunk. He can’t even think of a response, laughter lingering under his breath even once his teammate has settled into the bedding and Lyle has returned to the files before him. It still feels tense, like there is too little space in the room from the built up words between them, but it doesn’t feel static or immovable anymore. There’s give, a tight muscle being stretched slowly. It keeps a hopeful smile tugging at the corners of his lips as the cruiser falls silent.
As soon as he’s sure the Coluan’s breaths are even, indicating deep sleep, Lyle sets to work jamming their outward signals. He reaches up the the visual cloaking board, hesitating momentarily against the switch before flicking it with a decisive twist of his hand. With no one to justify it to at the moment, he doesn’t have to label his concerns as instincts or intuition, and simply indulges in the ease that being invisible gives him. Slowly, he processes an anonymous inquiry signal out to the ship, sending it out ahead of them with trepidation.
Lyle sighs and runs a hand over his face, pinching the bridge of his nose. So, the facts were thus; a ship with minimal fanfare but no doubt substantial funding has gone silent. They were researching the mass production of threshold gates. They had defense systems, and surely there was a distress signal with such valuable material on board. But nothing had been heard. It could have merely been a malfunction with the communication equipment, but it seemed unlikely that a crew of such bright minds wouldn’t be able to find another way to signal their status so no one would, in fact, think the worst had occurred. He has the lead scientist’s profile pulled open on the holoscreen next to the ship’s blueprints; Annie Campbell. He recognized her from a couple science conventions he’d attended years ago. She’d been engraved in his memory because, at least by physical appearances, she looked so much like his unofficial adoptive mother. Her hair had gone full grey in the time since then, but her gaze was no less serious and no-nonsense, almost military in regalness and discipline. It wasn’t the face or reputation of someone who would let her ship float in silence for almost a full day.
When he glances up again, over an hour has slipped by without his notice. Nothing had interrupted his thought process so the minutes had blurred together silently. No messages from the distressed ship, no new information from Legion HQ, only the steady whirl of the cruiser’s mechanics and the barely noticeable rhythm of Brainy’s breathing. Turning away from the screen light makes his eyes ache, but he looks over his shoulder anyways and snorts softly at the sight of his friend.
Brainy has rolled out of his more regimented beginning position, legs kicked out and arms sprawled in the limited space the bunk provided. Something delicate and fond bubbles up in Lyle’s chest even as he bites back a snicker. He stands, mentally justifying it with the intent of going over to the shelving beside the bunk to get an Omnicom he knew was resting there, but his gaze lingering on the sleeping Legionnaire the whole time during the retrieval spoke for itself.
As Lyle gets close, however, he realizes that Brainy isn’t exactly sleeping peacefully. His breath has gone a little heavy, and his brows furrow slightly. His eyes dart under closed eyelids. Brainy is dreaming. Though from this angle it is hard to tell if it is a distressing dream or not. Lyle tightens his hold on the Omnicom and watches, trying to remember if he’s ever witnessed such a thing in the multiple times either of them have nodded off in the lab. He knew Brainy slept with a thoughtful frown on his face fairly often, but that was when he drifted off mid-thought…
He remembers Querl dreaming. Quite suddenly, actually. Not by Querl’s face, per say, even though he saw it as he’d leaned in the press a kiss to his forehead, but the way his hands had flexed and held onto Lyle’s hips. His cheeks heat sharply.
Turning stiffly, he walks as silently but as quickly as possible back to his chair, not exactly sure how to feel about reminiscing about Querl hovering beside his best friend’s bed. The Omnicom slips out of his fumbling hands as he sits, and Lyle’s wincing back even before the loud clattering shatters through the dozing silence that has been lulling around them. He knows Brainy’s woken from the sharp inhale and a tension filling the room that is almost tangible.
"Oh, sorry, Brainy, I didn’t mean to wake you.” Lyle hisses, quickly turns back to the dashboard, embarrassment mixed with a potent shot of guilt hot on the back of his neck. Brainy doesn’t say anything in return, simply shuffles and falls silent. It’s a blessing for both their sakes, perhaps.
Silence, as awkward as ever, bubbles up between them.
"No response to the hail." Lyle mutters eventually, soft enough to be ignored if Brainy wanted to continue the illusion of sleep, but loud enough to be noted if not. Lyle’s fingers fly across the keyboard, glancing between the stream of information and the sudden halt of the bright tunnel they’re driving through as their warp speed pattern completes and they fall back to real time. "We have visual on the ship," And they did. It was a distinctive shape against the bright, star lit skin of the planet circling below it. "Approaching the southwest planetside docking bay, 25 minutes to arrival."
He licks his lips before gnawing on the bottom one. “I’ve been jamming our signature signals up until now.” He finally says. “If we’re going to announce our presence, we should do so soon.” The tone lingering in his voice is telling of how favorable he is to that idea.