Galen Tyrol was realistic about his appearance. He was alright, but he didn't have the shine of Lee Adama on a good day, or the swagger of Gaius Baltar. He didn't have the cachet of being a pilot or a VIP of the fleet. He was a knuckledragger; and proud of it.
He was young but crabby from overwork, most people had never seen him in anything except overalls, and if his hair happened to look good it was because he'd smeared engine grease through it. Deck Chief was a relatively high position on the ship, but he'd been one of the few left who could do it.
One day he had become eye candy for the cadets, an attraction on their unauthorized tours of the flight deck. He heard them giggling as he hefted heavy objects, and giggling even more when he glared at them.
"Are you lost, cause you're not dressed to fly," he barked.
"Sorry Chief," they giggled together, like a bizarre choral group coming to sing tributes on a feast day. Whatever deprivations in the fleet, they hadn't run out of makeup yet, and he wondered why they were so done up just to gawk at him.
"Get going before I report you. The deck's no place to hang around."
They lingered, giving him a frank appraisal that Galen shrugged off as end of the world nonsense. Then women from the civilian ships started doing it, and by the time he thought to figure out how it started no one would admit to making him a sex symbol.
It started like many things, with Starbuck's filthy mouth and Apollo's inability to hide his appreciation of it. A good day with the nuggets made them optimistic, and they were beaming pride and confidence in warm glances.
"We're still working on our landings," Apollo said from the front of the room. "Deck crew would have a lot more time to keep us flying if they didn't have to be blowtorch ready for every second approach. If you are not sure you can make the trap, wave off and come back around. It's true there are diminishing returns in several attempts, but you have to stay calm and admit you didn't get the angle."
They had been moving constantly for months, pushed into small spaces and cementing friendships almost unwillingly. Lee Adama was still a relatively new crew member, and most of his social life was Kara Thrace. Their friendly bickering had evolved into ballsy flirting. Lee caught her eyes and grinned, a dare projected telepathically.
"I hate it when you don't get the angle," she drawled.
He dipped his face and nodded, looking up with solemnity broken by a twitch of his mouth. "Me, too, Kara. Chief hates it even more. He's going to start taking it out in rough trade from us unless we can spare him some repairs."
The pilots were used to the two of them, but squirmed with the inclusion of another party. They had a healthy respect for Galen Tyrol, and took orders better from him sometimes.
Kara licked her lips, clearly aware of her implication. "I'll offer up a nugget or two for the cause, Sir. It's worth it. If my deck's getting pounded flat, I want the Chief on it."
That should have been the end of it, with Lee redirecting back to business. He smiled so broadly a dimple appeared in one cheek, and said, "Amen, to that. Galen's a good man."
He wasn't known for being friendly or unfriendly, but he really wasn't known for dropping ranks and using first names. It lent a strange ambiguity to the banter, and the pilots were alternately amused and discomfited.
"Relax nuggets," Apollo told them. "He's quite gentle the first time."
"And he lets you bring a buddy if you're shy," Starbuck chuckled knowingly.
It was Lee's muffled snicker that convinced a few gullible souls, and Kara's mumble about blowtorch readiness that really made them wonder about the possibilities.