PHD #396: A Lack of Testing
A Lack of Testing
Summary: Nataly tells Sawyer she's enlisted and Kincaid lets both of them in on a secret with the Gun and Abbott.
Date: 29 Mar 2042 AE
Related Logs: Cost of Business (The Gun can detect Cylons); Danny's Cylon Detecting Lament (The Gun has been a Cylon detector since August); Red Tape (Danny won't tell Sawyer about the Gun's Cylon detecting abilities. Yet.)
Kincaid Sawyer Nataly 
News Room — Deck 3 — Battlestar Cerberus
This compartment isn't huge by any means, an afterthought shoved into an alcove when the engineer was finishing the final plans for the ship. The long awkward rectangle is filled with several desks and those heavy pieces of machinery that are tools of the media trade — copiers, computers, printers, and of course a seemingly never-ending supply of paper of both the A4 and broadsheet variety. In the far port corner hangs a mulberry-colored hammock attached to the bulkhead — where the head-reporter-in-charge is purported to spent her nights. Three heavy desks have been moved to form an inverted 'U' for the new Editor in Chief's work station, and behind them lies the hatch to the modest closet-sized darkroom.
Post-Holocaust Day: #396

With the fleet back to Condition Three, life is returning to normal or a fair approximation thereof. That means that people are slowly starting to trickle back to work in the News Room and they're working on getting the press back up and running that had been halted for nearly a month. It's mainly run of the mill fleet updates being generated, but a few gems are being worked on and edited for mass consumption. Of course with life back to its usual, Sawyer is tucked behind her desk once more in full business attire with her hair carefully coifed and her polished glasses sitting on her nose. There is comfort in routine. "Who's got me something on that…" Her hand lifts above her head and she snaps a few times, looking for the right word bouncing around her head, "…epidemic?"

Nataly steps forward. "Mostly just rumor now, ma'am, but as far as I can tell it starts with a rash, progresses to a nasty flu, and just trying to soldier through it gets you put on your backside something fierce."

Enter Daniel Kincaid holding a large inter-office mail envelope in his hand, one that has inside it what looks like a rectangle-like object. "Sawyer. Nataly." He breezes in like he belongs here just as much as they do; then again, he might spend more time here then he does at his own desk down at the Marine Offices. "How's it going?"

Sawyer peels her glasses off her nose, using that same hand to grind the knuckle of her thumb into her eye before she replaces them and blinks at Nataly. "What about the seizures and coma? Can a flu cause that? I need a statement from medical, you want the assignment…" Her attention is drawn off the girl to look at Kincaid, but she quickly looks back to her computer screen. "Lance Corporal." When has she /ever/ called him that? "Got something good for me?"

Nataly looks down. "Actually, miss Averies, I…" she takes a deep breath. "I'm enlisting. CMC. After my aunt died, I decided I… well, I decided to join up."

"Lance Corporal Kincaid doesn't have a damn thing for you, Sawyer," says Danny, a bit peevishly. The reference was not lost on him. "But Danny might have something, assuming you're not go —" Whatever sharp words he had for the Editor-in-Chief come to a screeching halt when Nataly announces she's enlisted. "…" The ellipses indicate silence.

Oh really, Danny, you wanna rumble? Sawyer looks like she's ready to puff up like a blowfish and have it out with the marine, but whatever she's about to say gets likewise sidetracked with Nataly's words. As hard as Sawyer's been on the girl, that doesn't mean she can't show a glimmer of compassion. With the wind knocked out of her sails, the journalist's shoulders slump. "I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Truly. I hope you didn't make the decision rashly, but know if you need anything…well. You know where to find me. I assume you've already signed your enlistment papers?"

"Been thinking about it a long time, ma'am." Nataly says, still pretty softly. "I know you took me in to keep me out of trouble, that my writing style wasn't really what you wanted, and I appreciate all of it. As for my aunt… I'm glad she's finally out of pain."

"I'm only sorry I didn't have a chance to teach you more." Sawyer hitches her head at Kincaid without really looking at him. "Danny here'll look after you. You're doing a real service for humanity." Because what else is she supposed to say? Sawyer can't begrudge anyone who wants to sign up in the folds of the military. "When do you start basic?"

"Tomorrow, I think. They make it sound like hell, but… it can't be any worse than fighting for my life on Tauron, right? Cylons one day, Scavengers the next…" she shakes her head. "I know I won't have a lot of time, but I'd still like to work with you, some. Other types of writing. I'm not gonna give up my pen. I'm just gonna learn the sword, as well."

"Just don't listen to what they tell you about writing reports in class." Kincaid chimes in with his own bit of advice. "Military police writing is the most frakking stilted style of writing in the whole universe. It'll suck the life out of you. 'Undersigned proceeded to the starboardly corridor and identified himself to the individuals or persons found there.'" For example.

"I'll be happy to have you as your schedule allows. When they actually let you surface for air, that is. You'll do fine. Part of the whole process is breaking you down physically, so you break mentally, and then they get to build you back up with all the training necessary for you to survive. Essentially brain washing, but I think they hate when you call it that." And just to make sure Kincaid isn't going to smack her one for saying that, Sawyer scoots her chair a bit sideways.

"A little more than a year ago I was editor of my school newspaper, excited about maybe losing my virginity after Senior Prom, and wondering which Caprican Female Pop Star was sleeping with my favorite pyramid player." Nataly shrugs. "A few months later I was holding a gun and firing at people trying to kill us for the food and water we had. Now? I am leaving my filing job in the News Room of the fleet's last Battlestar to enlist with the Colonial Marine Corps. They'll have to pick a personality to break, first." She smiles at Danny. "And thanks for keeping an eye out. Don't beat her up too bad…" she indicates Saws. "She can be unreasonable sometimes."

Kincaid pauses for a moment. What does one say to a teenaged girl talking about possibly losing her virginity? But then he presses on. He doesn't even hit Sawyer. "No. Brain washing is about right. But it's all for a good cause, I suppose." He takes out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and lights up, offering them around to the two women.

"Only sometimes? I'm losing my touch." Sawyer makes light of being called unreasonable, which is probably the nicest thing she's been called lately. When cigarettes are offered by Kincaid, Sawyer only half-hesitates. Free nicotine trumps whatever tension is still strung between them. "I guess everybody is having to grow up a little faster than the gods intended."

Nataly waves off the cigarette with a smile. "No, but thank you, Danny." She pauses, and smiles at Sawyer. "It has been fun to work for you, even if it was mostly scrub work. It beat Hydroponics, anyway, and I did learn a lot about what you all do in here."

Tobacco: Bridging the gap since its invention. Kincaid leans over for a light for Sawyer unbidden. "So. Now that we've done all of the sappy good-byes, who wants the juicy stuff?" he asks. He holds up his inter-office envelope. "But no one can be told I was down here. I can really get frakkin' put up against a wall and shot for it. Not even your buddy, Nataly." The other Natalie. "Not yet." Despite his initial levity, he's dead serious about this part.

Sawyer leans over the flame, but her eyes slide up to Kincaid with a little arched eyebrow. It's a silent question of 'really? You want to do this now?'. But in the end, it would be his funeral and so she leans back in her chair while it gives a healthy peal of squeaking. "Lay it one me."

Nataly grins, and forces herself not to pull out her notebook. "I promise. I'm a civillian for a few more hours, anyway."

A pause. "You both know how the Gun can fry Cylons. Well, it seems that the reason it can do it is because it has this sort of radiation that comes off of it." Kincaid begins slowly, building up some steam. "What this means is that if you put someone by it, tie them up, it serves as a sort of Cylon detector. Normal people just are uncomfortable and have sleep deprivation. Cylons go wacky." Another pause. "Areion's known that it's had this ability since before they joined the Fleet."

Sawyer flicks her cigarette at an ashtray, knocking off a few flakes. "Funny how Kepner left that little tidbit off my tour." If Kincaid is building up to something other than that, she's not able to extrapolate to it herself just yet.

Nataly looks surprised. "Wait… they have a Cylon detector… and we haven't been using it? Why the frak not?"

"That may be changing. But you have good instincts, kid." Kincaid gestures with his cigarette over at Nataly. "Michael Abbott was executed in January of this year. Now. If you had a Cylon detector on your ship and there was a suspected Cylon in the brig, what is the first thing you'd do with him?" He looks between the two women.

"Because it would be unethical to parade every…" Man, woman and child in front of it to play guessing games. Something Sawyer has said recently to Kincaid. Of course her explanation to Nataly gets cut short as Abbott is mentioned. Abbott. Of course. "No." Sawyer says the word bitterly as all this starts to add up into one big fat lump that the journalist doesn't want to swallow. "No, no no nononono…" She's out of her chair, pacing furiously. "Shit shit shit." Because she can't cling to any other words in her head besides those, so that is what gets spewed.

Nataly says, "You would use the test to be sure… unless, for instance, the man you might exonerate could potentially outrank you. In which case, stay quiet for awhile, let paranoia run its course, and then be the highest ranking surviving officer in the fleet." Nataly's hands grip into fists. She looks at Sawyer, and forces herself to calm down."

Kincaid holds up his inter-office mail envelope, gesturing at the two of them. "These are the watch reports for every day between when Aerion joined the Fleet. Every large movement of Marines from Aerion that might suggest a security team to take Abbott to the Gun is accounted for. Also here? A copy of selected tapes from Abbott's cell. I took them to the squints and they say no signs of tampering or altering." A pause. "Michael Abbott wasn't taken to the Gun for testing." They must have known this was coming, but he just says it. But then he holds up a hand: "I have no idea who's behind this or what's going on. So we can't go off half-cocked. We need to investigate and dig and find out all we can. So I need your promise that the two of you are going to follow my lead on this. Promise?"

Sawyer points a hand at Kincaid, looking like she's about to say something profound. Instead, the hand just tremors to the point that she's forced to pull it back, and in doing so she might as well take another puff of her cigarette. She paces a second more, as if working something off or working herself up to something. Finally she just declares, "I have to go." But just so Kincaid won't be inclined to stop her, she adds quickly. "I promise. I promise."

"Yeah. I've had a day or two to digest this. But. We'll go and do that and — we'll reconvene and talk about where we go from here." And so, with that final bit, Kincaid gets to his feet and crushes out his cigarette. Is it paranoia if they really are out to get you?

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