PHD #152: A...Spirited Discussion!
A…Spirited Discussion!
Summary: Cora brings Tillman some info. It's pretty much just downhill from there.
Date: 28 July 2041 AE
Related Logs: Basically all the ones to do with the trip to the cylon research center and the videotape of that mission.
Cora Tillman 
Executive Officer's Quarters
A decent-sized room for a personal quarters, the XO's cabin has few of the plush amenities of the Admiral's but still retains a few more touches than would normally be found elsewhere. There are bookshelves that are stacked neatly beside a line of lockers. The standard-sized bunk is built into the wall with a few cabinets overhead for storage. The desk is a standard issue piece of furniture and so is the chair that comes with it, but there is a plain blue couch against the wall near the door and a respectably-sized blue rug lain out in front of it. This room also has a personal bathroom that holds a cramped shower, toilet, and sink area that is separated by a thin wooden door painted to the same color as the walls.
Post-Holocaust Day: #152

Tillman is sitting at his desk. Again. Moar paperwork. He's been off-duty for quite a few hours now but he doesn't ever seem to escape the duty. When someone knocks, he doesn't even get a chance to glance up. "Its open!" he calls towards the door, pen flowing across a log book of some kind.

Cora does not look substantially better when she enters than she has either of the last two times she has been here about this tape. She is not actively bleeding, that is the best that can be said, that and the bruise on her forehead, obscured by the way her hair has been combed, has neither gotten worse nor yet gained a twin. She is otherwise grey, eyes both red-rimmed and dark-circled. She pushes the hatch only partially shut behind her, clearly not intending upon staying long, and places on Tillman's desk the tape, and a quartet of glossies which, when looked at, will be recognized as frames from the video, selected and printed out. Each one shows one of the bodies in the lab, two still with faces, one without, and the fourth the centurion as it holds its autocannon to its head.

Tillman glances up to see Cora looking like she does and any pretense of a smile is gone. The pen is set down as she approaches the desk and he stands with her, not saying a word at first. He takes up the pictures and looks them over before lifting his eyes back towards her. "Cora?" he asks quietly as if gesturing verbally towards the pictures in his hands.

Cora just stands before his desk, silent, eyes on the wall as she apparently waits for the question(s) she knows must come. At his prompt she exhales softly and takes from him the first photo, a young woman with dark hair. If he wonders why she didn't just write the information on the back, the answer is obvious enough in the way the paper trembles in her hands. "Ensign Marlene Lessyan," she says, "ECO, BS Atlas." She sets it down, and does not try to pick up the next, just tapping it with a finger. It's a young man, whom she names, "Specialist Riko Hashan, Communications, BS Atlas." She swallows hard before the next, and does not look as she touches it at the male whose face is obscured by surgery but who retains two distinctive tattoos on his chest and side. "Captain Andreas Gheorgiu, Tactical Officer, BS Atlas." She seems finished, she pauses so long, but her finger still hovers in the air, not quite done. It takes a while, to work up to touching that last photo, of the centurion who was found wearing the dogtags Cora now clenches unseen in her left fist. Her voice cracks softly when she finally says, "Lieutenant Renata C. Tibakas, viper pilot, VF-247, BS Atlas."

Tillman lets her take the first photo without a word. Eyes glance to her hands and back up to her face as she talks, reciting the names. The Tactical Officer hits home, too. He doesn't know the man but he filled that billet for many years. "Atlas. Your duty station." He sighs and looks back to the photos. That last identification, though, gets a levelled gaze. "What? Cora. That's a Centurian. Not a person."

"A centurion who was wearing these tags," Cora says, holding up her hand without actually showing them, forgetting that other people can't see them through her skin like she can. "A centurion who warned our people, who fought with them, who responded to this name, and then killed itself out of what looks unmistakeably like shame on that tape. A centurion in a lab full of human bodies being experimented with, hooked up to computers, deconstructed and reconstructed in more ways than we can hope to understand, ways we were told would be abominable to us. They turned toasters into humans, major," she says, "Do you really think they couldn't figure out a way to turn humans into toasters?"

Tillman doesn't outwardly react to what he's just heard. He doesn't even look like he believes it. The man turns his eyes to her closed hand and then looks back to Cora. "Do you have any proof that this Centurian warned anyone and wasn't just malfunctioning?" Apparently he hasn't watched the disc yet. "I think that anything is possible, Cora, but just because the Cylons found a pilot's dogtags and supposedly put them on a Centurian doesn't actually mean what you're implying - which, if I'm not mistaken, is that these Cylons are…people. Is that right?"

"Multiple members of our team saw a clear warning," Cora replies, "And if you watch the tape, sir, it's clear enough. And no, I'm not— I mean, I am saying that this one was a person. I'm saying that that station's research included figuring out how to enslave humans in centurion form, and that they had done it with some degree of success at least once."

Tillman doesn't look convinced but the idea is enough to force some of the color from his face. "What you're telling me is that the Cylons are putting people into Centurians. Members of our fleet. Friends and family. Do you have any proof of this? Because if I go to Pewter and tell him this and its wrong, the results could be devastating, on an emotional level, to everyone on this crew. Frakking with emotions over something like this? You had better be damned sure." The Major is more than a little unnerved by this. "Medical was just in here this morning and I heard nothing about this from them. Why?"

"Of course I don't have proof," Cora replies, voice hardening somewhat, brittle, "I wasn't there. I didn't speak to this centurion, we didn't exchange secrets only she could know to prove it was really her. And I have no idea why Medical didn't mention anything about it. I don't know what kind of samples they took, or what kind of tests they're able to run. I just know what's on the tape and what people who were there told me. It makes sense, major. It fits. Gods know I am the last person here who wants this to be true, but the intel points to it."

Tillman stares at Cora. "Engineering brought something back, or so I was told. Something about the information on the station. If what you're saying is right, that should back your argument." The Major doesn't seem like he's willing to budge. "Intel points to it. But you've got scattered reports from people on the ground that..what? A malfunctioning robot shot at its own troops. It happened to have dogtags on it. Cora? Unless this Centurian shared its secrets with you or someone else, I don't know what to tell you. I'll watch the video tonight, though. The fact is that we can't prove anthing. And something on this scale? I'm not going to take this to the crew until we know for sure."

"Did I ask you to tell me anything? Did I ask you to take it to the crew, sir?" Cora retorts, "I didn't, and I wouldn't. Frankly I think taking it to the crew even if it were confirmed would be stupid, and do more harm than good. You wait for some sort of confirmation if you want before telling Pewter, but I wouldn't expect to get it, any more than we've had full confirmation of anything, ever, since the bombs hit. Whatever is so important that the Eleven had to leave that box to tell us isn't likely to be about a project we just destroyed. And you watch that video, major. That's not a malfunctioning robot."

"Lieutenant, something like this should not be kept from the crew. Given how few of us are left, they deserve to know what we are fighting against and just how high the stakes are. If what you are saying is right, we aren't just fighting against a genocide anymore. They straight want to enslave us." Tillman leans forward on his desk, palms down as he stares at Cora. He's losing his cool, though its unclear if its with her or just the situation.

"Do whatever the frak you want, major," Cora replies, turning away to leave, "But don't be shocked when what you get is a couple thousand people scared out of their minds wanting to run as far as they can as fast as they can because now they're not even safe in death."

"Lieutenant, I've warned you about being flippant. Consider this your final one for the rest of your career. You want to piss like this, you do it with somebody else." The man sounds quite serious, his voice terse. "This is all assuming your assumptions are correct, anyway." He watches her on her way out.

"Major, I'm convinced that my best friend since I was seven years old was ENSLAVED AS A CENTURION," Cora replies, voice shaking, "And probably they've done the same thing to my family back on Caprica and who knows how many more of my friends and shipmates are chopped up and rigged to machines like that, or got lucky and survived on the ship somehow only to get eaten by cannibals like on the Minotaur or gone insane and melted from radiation poisoning at the very, very best. No, wait, I'm sorry, the very best is if they got blown to tiny frakking pieces, every last one of them. That's what I'm hoping for, major. I'm hoping that every other person I have ever known or loved that I didn't see on that tape was nuked into dust. You think I care about my career? Where the frak is this career going, major? If I'm lucky, I'll get shot or blown up before they can stick me in a toaster or we run out of food and start going mad and eating each other or whatever the next gods damned nightmarish possibility we come upon is. It just gets worse and worse, major. Every string we pull on we find some fresh hell at the end of it so I hope you'll forgive me for being flippant because I am just about…" She trails off and gestures, hands cutting viciously to each side, like a conductor cutting off a note, and she just shakes her head, and it keeps on shaking.

Tillman keeps his eyes on her. "What? You think nobody else lost anything, Lieutenant? You think that other people aren't wondering the same damned shit?" He stabs a finger towards her, still leaned in his desk with his other arm. "Every damned person on this ship lost best friends and family. There are no more good days. Just better days. Yeah, if frakking sucks. There's no relief. Some people wish they were dead. I think every person in this fleet feels the same way but there isn't a damned thing that losing your shit is going to do to fix it, is there?" He's mad, voice low and growling.

"They're not wondering the same damn shit, major, because they haven't seen the same damn shit I have," Cora spits back, "And you know, you're right, the fact that there were BILLIONS of other people who also died or are getting dissected and brutalized, that definitely makes me feel better! This all seems so much easier to take now, major, thank you SO MUCH for putting it into perspective." She's angry, too, actually shaking with what must be assumed is a combination of rage and the toll this near-breakdown has been taking. "And you know what else? You've had frakking months to come to terms with all this, so that's great for you, it must be easy to sit there and tell me I'm late to the 'freaking the frak out' party, but frak you, major. I was stuck on that shithole Leonis thinking it was just some war that wasn't going so well for the moment, and eventually I'd get picked up and it'd all be fine and then I get rescued and discover things were fifteen times worse than I could ever have possibly imagined but would losing my shit have been useful then? No! So I kept my shit together and I've done a lot of frakking good work for you so if now that I've finally gotten to see the graveyard where all my friends are dead— Or! Hey! Not dead, just eating each other!— and gotten to stare at them cut to bits in a lab and suddenly maybe it's all kind of hitting home for me and I want to lose my shit a little bit then I think I've frakking well earned it."

"Don't get self-righteous with me, Lieutenant," he fires back. "This isn't about you and it never was. Taking all that shit on yourself? You just want to take it all on?" Tillman shakes his head. "I'm not telling you that you can't breakdown about this, but don't for one second tell me that I have in any way come to terms with what happened. Not once. Damned few people on this ship are dealing with it in any way except abstractly. Very few people have seen the shit you have, yeah. That's true. But don't hang that like a goddamn ring of thorns on your head. I need you competant and composed."

"Of course the frakking apocalypse isn't about me, major, do you think I'm frakking delusional?" Cora replies, incredulous, "But this conversation right here," she gestures, "This, right now? This IS about me, and it's about the fact that you're a frakking hypocrite, babbling self-righteous bullshit and platitudes and talking and talking and talking without ever once even approaching saying something helpful or even worthwhile let alone listening to me for two gods-damned seconds. Just shut up, major. SHUT UP. I don't care what you want and I don't care what you think and if you need me competent and composed then you need to just shut the frak up and show me a little bit of frakking patience. Is that so hard, major? I'm losing my frakking mind, and you can't be patient for five minutes? What is wrong with you?"

Tillman looks like he's about to ask her if she is delusional. In the end, he just..doesn't. Tillman stares at her like he might explode, his face turning the same color as Quinn's hair. But after all that and the man's expression. He does, actually, shut the frak up. He's not backing down, though. He still looks quite pissed.

"There," Cora says, watching Tillman for a long moment, "Finally." She stares him down just long enough to make it clear she's not backing down either, and then she turns on her heel and heads again for the door.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License