PHD #370: A Plan and a Petition
A Plan and a Petition
Summary: Pallas submits two sets of documents to Cidra.
Date: 3 Mar 2042 AE
Related Logs: None.
Cidra Pallas 
CAG's Office - Deck 10 - Battlestar Cerberus
Though it's not much bigger than the average ship supply closet, the office of the commander of Cerberus' air group has as much luxury as one can hope for aboard a battlestar: privacy. It is dominated by a blocky gray metal desk straight out of standard Navy supply with an equally standard-issue rolling chair behind it. A few other chairs are shoved against one wall, for those who drop by for whatever business they have with the CAG. The surface of the desk is covered by a computer and stacks of files and octagonal papers covering whatever bit of aerial bureaucracy she's mussing with that day. A few heavy books on air mechanics - mostly devoted to Raptors - occupy the shelves.

The room is largely devoid of decoration, save one item hanging on a hook on the shelf direct above her desk: a set of prayer beads, well-worn olive wood and strung with a single, crudely-carved owl charm.
Post-Holocaust Day: #370

The hatch to Cidra's office is slightly ajar and there's the faint scent of cigarette smoke wafting from it. The usual signs that she's in it and disturbable. She's sitting at her desk and smoking, going over the reports that've found there way to her desk this day, in her flight suit, slim frown lining her face.

Pallas steps into the doorway of Cidra's office… and knocks. Even salutes. Well, this is different. There are folders tucked under his left arm, too, which signify serious business coming from him.

The knock brings Cidra's blue eyes up from her papers. The salute makes her brows arch. The only visible sign of - perhaps - surprise at the consideration. Perhaps. She sets her cigarette down in her ashtray, stands and acknowledges the salute fluidly. "Lieutenant Ellinon. As you were." Back down into her chair she sinks, adjusting her posture slightly. The folders are eyed. Curious. "What may I do for you?"

The salute is dropped crisply, putting Pallas at a proper posture of attention until he steps through into her office. It's probably the first time anyone's seen him in that position in many years. "Major Hahn," he says, his voice betraying the irony of his formality, "I come bearing a plan and a petition." He produces one of the folders and sets it on her table. "First, the plan."

Cidra takes the folder, opening it and flipping through it. Brows arch some more. "Ah. So you are also much concerned over the ancient ship." She doesn't sound surprised. "Engineering has been all up and down the vessel in search of any kind of transponder or beacon, or any sign of tampering. They have found no indication at all the Cylons might be using it as a homing device." Though it's not, really, a dismissal of the idea. "Still, it does persist in the mind, does it not? I cannot help but feel myself that ship is an omen or something, good or ill. It has been with us since these Swarms started, so ill it seems at the moment." Not that she sounds convinced of that, for her part.

"No," Pallas answers. "I just want people to shut the frak up about it." Sitting down, he elaborates. "The plan is simple. If the Cylons come after the second group, we know it has nothing to do with the ancient ship. If they come after the first, change the groups again: Areion housing the ancient ship with Elpis, Cerberus and Praetorian, jumping again to different coordinates. And so forth." A nod is cast to the folder. "Eliminate all conditions for which the ancient ship is a factor in the Cylons continually finding our position. Then isolate the ship that houses whatever factor is actually broadcasting our location, quarantine it, and find the source."

"For my part, I do not think the source is anything upon that ancient ship we found. Or anything so easy to spot as a beacon. But. We know we still have enemy agents aboard." There's frustration as much as unease in Cidra's tone as she notes that. Skinjobs are less simple things to find than transponders, after all. "My only concern with this is thinning the protection around the Elpis. Whichever group it jumps with it will lose some flak cover, and the freighter is quite defenseless. Still. This is worth pitching to Command. Less perhaps to eliminate the ancient ship as a factor, than to narrow in one where the trouble lies."

"Think what you may. Correlation doesn't imply causation. And you never design an experiment to prove a hypothesis - you always seek to disprove one." So to Pallas, this is just a big experiment. One that could, as Cidra points out, put many lives in danger. "Nothing we can do about the flak support," he says with a shrug, seemingly unbothered by this fact. "All we can do is move the combat distribution around. Notably, using the majority of Areion's Air Wing personnel and resources in defense of the Elpis and shifting remaining resources to compensate."

"I never took you for a man of science, Spiral." Tone ever-so-slightly dry. "Well, we cannot keep on like this forever. Audumbla dampens the Swarm, it does not keep it away, and the Cylons now know at least the general area in which we roam. If we linger too long they could pen us in with more than just those Raiders. I shall pitch this formerly to Pewter. With my cautious support. It is as good a notion as anyone else seems to have in how to deal with these Swarms. Apart from destroying that Foundry out in wilderness space near Aerilon, but that is rather more of an undertaking. This can be done more immediate."

Pallas snorts, amused by Cidra's dry statement. "What would you have me be instead? A man of faith?" The question doesn't even need any sarcasm to make it sound ridiculous. "Everything is science, Toast." Clearing his throat, he produces the second folder and lays it on her desk, his eyes narrowing toward her as he does. "The petition." He sits up a little bit with a hesitant look. "Five years have passed since I received my severe reprimand. I am formally requesting that it be struck from my record."

Cidra's eyes tick up to the prayer beads that hang over her desk, little owl charm swinging over her head. Then back to Pallas. "Faith and reason are not so divorced as many would like to believe. You cannot reason your way out of everything, Spiral." Not that she goes entirely off on a philosophical tangent just now. The second folder is taken. Skimmed. Brows arch again. "Ah. So I see." That's all she has to say for the moment. She eyes him. Presumably awaiting some further explanation rather than what's supplied in the papers. Or who knows, with her really. No actual question is immediatley forthcoming.

Pallas, for his part, is being as inscrutable as Cidra normally is. He just sits there, returning her look evenly, offering exactly nothing except what's in the folder: a memo requesting the severe reprimand be removed from his permanent record, the original files from the court martial, his service record since that time (which include several stints in the brig, mostly for drunkenness, as well as various notes of insubordination), and performance reviews. They paint a picture of the Pallas most people know: he drinks a lot, he's got no filter, but he flies well.

Cidra has read the documents before. For her part, she watches Pallas. In that mild, faintly weighing way she has of watching things. This goes on for a good while. Though finally the CAG does ask, "Why now?"

"Because Command is frakking weak and spineless, and it's Gods-be-damned infuriating watching them frak everything up," Pallas answers. That's probably not going to help his case get pitched to the higher-ups. "And it would make me feel better to know that I have the theoretical possibility of being promoted even if I know it won't happen. I waited one year since my release was denied, expecting this to be over one way or another." By which he means, of course, that he expected to die or the war to end. "I'm still here, the war's still going, so if you're not going to let me hang up my uniform, then at least clean off the stains."

There are several good reasons - the many demerits on his record following this one, the present insubordination, and so on - that Cidra might have for just turning this aside immediately. But she does not. Instead, she just keeps watching him. "Ah." A pause. "Tell me what happened, Spiral." A finger is pointed down at the file. "I do not mean recite the incident report, I can read that myself. Your record is a colorful thing. I have read it several times before. Tell me what made you get yourself charged with everything from AWOL to assault to derelection of duty. And why I should consider removing this from your history."

"What changed?" Pallas echoes, brows pulling downward. "What do you want to hear, Toast? Because I know the easy answer. Those charges got laid because I went to take my son out of a frakked up situation. He's a cloud of vapor now. Problem solved." He waves a finger in the air excitedly, leaning forward in his seat. "Or wait! It's because I've finally been 'cured' of my 'alcoholism' since the Fleet has been at Condition Two for so long. Or even better yet, it's because I was selected to trial the modified Vipers. It made me realize that I am a member of this team and a valuable asset to the Fleet, which led me to give up my errant ways!" He gives her an 'are you retarded?' look. "I'm not going to bullshit or beg for this, Toast. It's the end of the worlds and I have no free will to exercise. So the Fleet can either show me some semblance of acknowledgement by amending my service record, or they can deny my request. Either way, I'll continue to fly."

"Ah." That's Cidra's first response to all that. The only part of it that gets more than a generally inscrutable response from her is the mention of his son. Which makes her eyes downcast to the folder for a moment. But they come back up again soon enough. "I will review and consider this. You shall have a response on it one way or another within twenty-four hours." That is all she says, inscrutable as to what that response shall be. "Unless there is anything further, Lieutenant, you are dismissed."

"Thank you for your time and attention in this matter, Major Hahn," Pallas says in a (surely practiced) saccharine voice, even matching the words with a smile. Rising, he salutes and exits the office, leaving the two folders behind. What becomes of them will remain to be seen.

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