PHD #396: A Change of View
A Change of View
Summary: Kincaid confronts Vandenberg about her change of opinion at the trial of Admiral Abbott.
Date: 29 Mar 2042 AE
Related Logs: A Lack of Testing and the logs referenced there.
Kincaid Vandenberg 
Quarantine Ward — Battlestar Cerberus
A hastily erected ward created by sealing off a fifth of the recovery room with a temporary bulkhead, the battlestar's new quarantine zone has enough space for about fifty patients, though fifty more beds can be crammed inside at the expense of patient comfort and privacy. A long faux-wood folding table at the front of the compartment is stocked periodically with tea, coffee, and three square physician-approved meals. Four portable toilets stand at the other end, their blue plastic sides and polished steel bowls cleaned altogether too many times a day for the ship's janitors' liking.
Post-Holocaust Day: #396

Getting into the early evening, Van is rumored to be back in sickbay. But this time its not as a patient. Finding her isn't hard, either. She's sitting beside the bed of Captain Vakos while the Viper pilot sleeps, trying to recover from this flu thing going around. The Marine is doing paperwork at the bedside, her hands in medical gloves and a facemask worn over her mouth and nose. The bandages are still on her face as well, running from her left cheek then around the back of her head.

Kincaid had to negotiate a bit with the orderlies at the front to get him back here. It helps a bit that he's a cop in his MP uniform, but it only goes so far. The negotiations resulted in him being allowed back to see Vandenberg, but only while wearing a mask over his face as he makes his way through the recovery ward and towards the Marine S-3. "El-tee?" Kincaid asks, voice muffled through the mask. "You got a couple minutes to talk?"

The officer lifts her eyes from her paperwork to Kincaid and nods. "Yeah," she whispers, keeping her voice down. The Marine is in green navy duds, but minus any rank and the shirt is unbuttoned down the front. "Sure do. What can I do for you, Mister Kincaid?"

Kincaid takes a chair from nearby — one of the ones that visitors around here use — and lifts it up, bringing it over so he can sit next to Vandenberg. At least he didn't drag it over. "It's about the Admiral Abbott trial." Silence. "Look. I'm not here officially and you can tell me to buzz off. But — I had a hunch about something and I wanted to follow it up."

It’s difficult to tell what she's thinking. Most of her face is hidden by bandages and a mask, too. She just stares right back at him. "Uh huh." Its non-committal but the officer isn't telling him to leave. "What specifically did you want to know?" Vandenberg keeps her voice to a whisper, something of a cautious edge to her voice. Everyone knows she was on the jury but she almost never brings it up or talks about it.

"I used to be a reporter, so I think I can read people pretty well. And when I looked out at that jury box — when I looked at you, El-tee, I thought you were pretty much on my side. And when they polled the jury — when they asked everyone if 'guilty' was their verdict — you seemed to sort of hesitate before you said yes." Kincaid pauses. "So. My question is: Did something happen?" He might as well just come out and say it.

Whatever is going on in that woman's head, her face becomes instantly stone when he asks that last question. "Tread carefully, Mister Kincaid. You're stepping into some very deep water." There's a glances to Khloe and then back to Kincaid. "This is the second time in three days this has come up." She rises from the chair. "Follow me. Now." The paperwork is left on the chair and Vandenberg makes a straight line for the exit.

Kincaid gets to his feet and follows after unquestioningly, though his eyebrow arches as if to say 'second time?'. He seems to have struck a chord. He takes off his mask after they pass out of the quarantine zone, tossing it into one of the biohazard bins found there.

Vandenberg doesn't even say a word as she leads him right out of medical. Gloves and mask discarded into the same bin, she treads down the corridor and stops at a storage locker. She uncerimoniously opens it and holds it for Kincaid to go in first. Once in, she shuts it and locks it behind them. Her head turns to look right at him. "Tell me why you're asking about that jury panel and my vote, Mister Kincaid." She doesn't seem like she is in a mood to be questioned on it.

How to put this. "I found out from Areion XO that their Gun gives off radiation that can be used as a sort of Cylon detector. Chain someone up near the engine and the ambient radiation does its work on them. Normal people? They just have the effects of sleep deprivation and being chained up for a few days. Cylons? They go mad." Kincaid lays that out. But it seems to be just the lead-up.

The Marine S-Three's expression takes a very quick descent towards anger, her face growing red. Even the veins on her right temple are visible. Vandenberg Smash. Fists ball as she takes a few steps towards Kincaid, though she doesn't look like she is about to hit him. Though that box of mop heads might get destroyed violently. "Continue." Its said through gritted teeth.

Kincaid takes a deep breath in, perhaps hoping that the anger will not be taken out at him even though it's likely not towards him. "I found out from the CO of the Areion Marine detachment that they have known about the Gun's Cylon detecting abilities since before Areion jointed the Fleet. Now, El-tee, if you had a suspected Cylon Michael Abbott and there was a foolproof way to tell that he was a Cylon, what would you do with him? Test him, right?" From the fact they're having this conversation, Vandenberg likely knows what's coming next.
The Marine Officer is positively riled beyond belief. She could probably bunch through the armored glass on the Obs Deck for all the ferocious rage she seems to have. "They knew. The whole time. And they did nothing?" The words come in short growls. "I'm going to kill the CO of that boat with my bare godsdamned hands. I'm going to kip Kepner's frakking head off and use it as a godsdamned pyramid ball! -Yes- something happened during the trial!" Without warning she turns and just start kicking a box on a bottom shelf as hard and fast as she can, quickly destroying it.

Kincaid watches Vandenberg's reaction dispassionately, trying, perhaps, to de-escalate by remaining calm while she gets riled up. "Okay." That's his first reaction. Just a simple acknowledgment. Then, once she's had a few moments: "What happened?" The question is asked as dispassionately as the first acknowledgment. Just let it all come out.

The box is in ruination, the contents of mop heads distributed unevenly across the floor when she finally stops. The woman has some serious power behind her. Its probably no wonder she teaches martial arts. Vandenberg huffs to a stop and finally looks back up at Kincaid. "Okay, I will tell you but I swear to the Gods, if I ever find out that you tell this to anyone else, I will personally see to it that your balls are placed in a clamp and crushed. Then? The pain is going to start." By the look in her eyes, she means it. "Lieutenant O'Hare and Gunnery Sergeant Constin are already aware of this but my computer system was hacked. Information was given to me during deliberations that swung my vote after I verified what I could."

Kincaid nods a couple of times at that. "Yeah, sure. Of course." It's not quite 'uh-huh,' but it's still similar in substance. "Well. That's something." Because what else can someone say to that? "What did you learn in the list of suspects and in the unredacted after action report that swayed your vote?"

"I learned that Abbott had been a listed suspect, among other high ranking officers, before the video showed up on this ship from Leonis." There is only one Video she could be talking about. "Also his actions following Tillman's legal arrest of the Admiral? His refusal to comply with lawful orders and his actions that lead to the death of a Marine fireteam. I've never heard of behavior like that. Ever. It would be inexcusable for anyone to do it, let alone someone who was supposed to be our Admiral."

Kincaid nods again. "Okay." Kincaid's just processing now, asking questions to flesh out his understanding. "And you got this information how? It just showed up on your computer one day as a result of hacking?"

Vandenberg just shakes her head. "Well I sure as hell didn't put it there, Mister Kincaid. I didn't even know that list of suspects existed until I saw it - and I've got enough trouble sleeping. Ever wish you could unsee something?" She's not trying to make a joke. She's stone serious. "We had deliberations, polled ourselves informally, we argued, then we broke. I came back here to check on something and it was on my desktop. Deleted themselves somehow after I finished reading them."

"All right." More mental notes. Danny's brain is scribbling furiously. "So someone wanted to make sure you fell into line. Someone who could get access to your computer." Another pause. "Do O'Hare and Constin have any guesses on who's behind this?"

"Someone delievered a lot of truth to me. After reading that information I would have convicted him of treason whether or not he was a Cylon. You did a damned good job on his defense but at the end of the day you can't hide what happened." Unless the prosecution doesn't even bother presenting it. Vandenberg shakes her head to the last. "They are handling the investigation as far as I know. This also has multiple lead-ins to other avenues of investigation that I can't go into. Why? You got a suspect?"

Kincaid shakes his head. "Not yet. But it's all damn peculiar, El-tee. You've got a team over there on Areion that — from what they said — knew they had a foolproof Cylon detector but wouldn't use it to determine whether our Admiral is a Cylon. Makes you think they were afraid they might be wrong." And that, clearly, is what's troubling him, what led him to come to her with this. "Makes you wonder what their angle is on everything. But I want to be part of this, El-tee. I figured this out on my own; I think it's a sign that I'm a good enough detective to help Constin and O'Hare to get to the bottom of this, even the classified stuff."

"I don't care what their motivations were. There is no godsdamned excuse for refusing to test the Admiral. IF that thing even worked one bit, it would have ben more evidence. If it hadn't, it doesn't mean shit and the case still would have gone on the merits of what had taken place." Vandenberg is apparently still pretty mad about this. "Their angle can be whatever it wants to be. Its not going to stop me from shoving a frag up Kepner's ass for this one. I'll see that man frakked for this if it takes me the rest of my damned life. As far as getting to the bottom of it? You talk to Constin about it. I think he's heading up the investigation. The rest of it?" She shakes her head. "Its too explosive right now. As is my own investigation which it ties to in a different way. If Elf thinks you can handle it, I'll let him tell you. He's your Platoon Sergeant. He can make that choice for me."

"All right. I'll get him on board." Kincaid doesn't phrase it as a possibility. "But El-tee? If I can make a suggestion? Put this thing about the testing under your hat. Don't rip into Kepner yet. I think it's all tied together. And if we tip our hand too early? We'll give them a chance to destroy evidence, build-up walls, go on the defensive. Let's build our case and then hit 'em with it when we've got it mostly figured out. I'm a professional investigator. Trust me on this one."

"You're shitting me. You want me to sit on this? Are you out of your damned mind?" Van looks like she might be ready to start yelling when it occurs to her that he told her all of that in trust. Frak. She growls. "Fine, Mister Kincaid. But you get one thing perfectly clear: I'm going to bring this up to Constin and O'Hare. If you haven't already told them, and I hope to Gods you have, then I will or you will. One way or another, the Master at Arms and Marine S-Two are going to be told. Are you clear on that, Lance Corporal?" Van seems in no mood to be trifled with.

"Set up the meeting and I'll be there, Lieutenant." Kincaid takes his upbraiding in stride. "I'll brief Constin and O'Hare and you can sit in. I came to you first because I didn't know how far this went, who might be behind this. If you say they're the good guys, then I won't gainsay you on it." A beat. "Are we good?"

"I'd suggest finding them ASAP. No need to wait for me. But I'll give you forty eight hours to do it on your own." She sighs, shaking her head as arms cross. "You really should have told them first, Lance. These people are no doubt the best men on the ship. I don't give a shit who or what Elf's wife was or wasn't. I'll put my life in his hands every day of the week and twice on Sunday." She pauses there for a moment. "Yeah. We're good. I'm not mad at you. I'm bleedin furious enough to kickstomp a jackal in bare toes, though!"

"All right, then." Kincaid, understated again. "Good talk." He nods and moves towards the door. "Just take it easy. Don't do anything rash. We're dealing with some pretty powerful folks, and we don't quite know what we're facing. We don't want to do anything dumb." And, with that bit of advice, he takes his leave, the door of the supply closet opening with a click.

Vandenberg turns to watch him depart, holding her posture and stance as she does. "Lance Corporal Kincaid, you have no idea how true that is." She gives him a steady gaze, eyes narrowed at him on his way out.

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