PHD #416: After A While, You Get Used To It
After A While, You Get Used To It
Summary: What precisely you get used to, Cora certainly doesn't know, but Pewter seems determined that she be aware. Also that she drink her damned coffee.
Date: 18 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: One, among others.
Cora Pewter Parry 
Pewter's Quarters
The CO's quarters are as stately as can be expected. One of the few rooms on the ship to receive carpeting, it also possesses several other amenities that would be unthinkable anywhere else. On the port bulkhead, a small door opens up onto a personal bathroom with its own shower and sink. Two plush armchairs and a single handmade rocking chair surround a coffee table placed directly in front of the head, its glass surface perpetually covered in coffee grounds and a dusting of creamer. Nearby, a queen-sized mattress is recessed into the wall, capable of sliding out over the knotted tweed rug that lends a cozy touch to this makeshift sitting room. Above the mattress are four wall safes where the CO keeps his classified documents, private effects, and other things not meant for the public eye.

Despite its creature comforts, however, this room remains a working office, and its current occupant evidently works best in an atmosphere of controlled chaos. The wide oaken table facing the exit is covered with reports, reconnaissance photographs, and internal memoranda all hours of the day, with islands of personal memorabilia scattered here and there to break up the monotony: a glass tumbler bearing the insignia of the frigate Corsair, a black-and-white photograph of a fishing boat, and — nailed to the front of the desk — a twelve-pound rainbow trout stuffed and mounted on a polished mahogany plaque. Only the Colonel's five bookshelves are organized in any semblance of order. Framed family photographs sit next to what must be the largest remaining collection of fine spirits and liquors remaining in the universe, each bottle strapped to the rear bulkhead by thick Velcro bands — to protect them in case of turbulence, no doubt.
Post-Holocaust Day: #416

Three days have passed since the late unpleasantness of the fifteenth of April, and Andrus Pewter has finally been released from Sickbay with explicit instructions not to push himself too hard. But being the self-styled 'ornery sumbitch' he is, he's promptly immersed himself in the business of Command. His big oak table is covered with more reports than ever, and by the foot of his chair he's got two empty pots of coffee. Yeoman Parry's sorting through completed paperwork in the rocking chair nearby, a look of supreme disapproval on her patrician features — but even she knows better than to interrupt her boss when he's in a Mood. "More coffee, sir?" is all she asks. And having anticipated his answer, she's already brewing up a third pot when Cora arrives and knocks.

"Uh-huh," grunts Pewter, rising from his chair — and forgetting that he needs a cane to steady himself. Before disaster can strike, his faithful yeoman pushes him back down, shaking her head as she heads for the hatch.

Cora waits outside in duty blues, this set reasonably un-wrinkled, even neat. Her hair is pulled neatly back as well, and she nods at Parry as the yeoman opens the door, stepping into the room and saluting, offering a simple, "Colonel," by way a greeting. Beneath her non-saluting arm is a slim stack of folders with the signia of the Colonial Navy embossed on the cover.

"Captain!" Despite the discomfort that smiling involves, Cerberus' commanding officer manages to break into his familiar genial smile. "Get y'all in here. Coffee? Red's just brewin' up another batch."

"Sir," says the yeoman smoothly, offering a pitch-perfect salute of her own before she goes to get the mugs.

"Been readin' up on all this bullshit from Friday," the man continues. "Saw Clive took a real nasty one. Bastards done got him good, like some poor frakkin' turkey gettin' all toasted for some new year's shindig. Y'all holdin' up all right?"

"Thank you, sir," Cora replies to the offer of coffee, "Please." She moves over towards where Pewter sits but remains standing herself, watching the CO except when she casts a glance at Parry, watching the yeoman for a moment as she goes about collecting their beverages. She turns back to Pewter to nod, "I'm fine sir, thank you. I'm told you're healing well, I was glad to hear it. Major Tillman is also in stable condition, the doctors report."

Pewter chuckles at that last report, chuckles that continue only until he realizes it hurts to cough. "Motherfrakker's tough," he half-says, half-growls. Ow. "Not like y'all's last one. Give him a month and I bet y'all he'll be bustin' his crispy fanny outta there with more wind than a corn-eatin' donkey." Maybe a swig of coffee will dull the pain — which he takes out of a baby blue mug emblazoned with 'I <3 GRAMPS' in cartoonish font. "Heard y'all had to make some tough calls down there," he adds after a moment. "Heard y'all had to cut someone up."

Parry sniffs delicately as she returns with a steaming tray. "Sugar or milk, sir?" she asks Cora, even as she trades Pewter's empty mug for another filled to the top with nothing but Viper fuel.

Cora listens and nods, agreeing, "I never met the last one, but so I hear." She does not reply right away to the mention of cutting someone up, glancing at Pewter's mug and then turning to Parry replying, "Thank you, no. Just black." Another beat of watching the yeoman as she collects one of the mugs and takes a sip, and then it's back to Pewter. "We did, sir," she replies, "As I'm sure you read it my report, QUODEL Special Rapporteur Allan Rejn arrived in CIC, declared himself to be Cylon Model #1, and offered to give us back control of the nuclear weapons. This required plugging him bodily into one of the consoles."

Pewter's heavy brows furrow as he begins sipping from this new re-filled mug. It's got an atrociously overwrought pastoral scene painted in an oval on the side, a scene whose dominant feature is a fisherman and his bass. "Hope y'all scrubbed down my CIC," he mutters, settling back into his comfortable chair with a sigh. "Word's out. Heard some of them nurses titterin' like schoolgirls 'bout it down in Sickbay this mornin'. Somethin' 'bout stickin' a bunch of wires into them jigglin' jelly rolls so we could bust up on Rudy's boys." Just another thing for him to worry about. "They could've made anybody they wanted for their number one and they picked that sumbitch. Godsdamn. Wonder what that says 'bout what they think 'bout us."

"That's been done, sir," Cora assures him, the faintest hint of a grimace in memory briefly wrinkling her features. Lips purse again before her mug is raised, and she nods, confirming, "We kept it as quiet as possible, but a complete lockdown of CIC couldn't be done in the circumstances, and it did seem prudent to transport the corpse to Medical for autopsy." As for his musings on Cylon motivations, she shakes her head, "I doubt it's meant to say anything positive about us, sir." After another brief sip of coffee, she offers, "Our computer technicians monitored the systems the entire time that Rej— One was connected, and have performed several full diagnostic sweeps since, as well. They have not found that anything was altered or tampered with in any fashion."

The man's reflexive grin turns sour. "That's what them eggheads told me 'bout that Gun business too." Pewter blows across the top of his mug, sending wisps of steam in Cora's direction. It's not enough to prevent the lenses of his glasses from misting up, but maybe that's just as well. Inscrutable CO is taking a page out of Cidra's book. "Hate to say, but I guess we'll just wait 'n' see." And on that somewhat ominous note, the man's gone back to his coffee, propping up his good leg over his bad leg while he considers the implications of giving a skinjob unfettered access to the entire ship's systems. "First time commandin' somethin' big as this ugly bucket?" he asks after a moment, looking up to give Parry a big thumbs-up.

"I'm glad this one's finally to your liking," the yeoman says, before turning her attention back to whatever torrid romance novel she's reading this time around.

"Well, it's our own eggheads working with their own data this time," Cora points out, "Unlike during the linked Gun set up. But unfortunately yes," she concedes with a nod, "We will just have to wait and see. It was not a decision made lightly, I assure you. Believe it or not, it seemed the best of bad choices." She takes another sip of coffee, glances over at Parry and her novel, and then back to Pewter, nodding, "Yes, sir, it was."

"Sure ain't as easy as it looks, huh." Pewter shifts in his chair, grunting with the effort. "Y'all feel pretty big in them britches when they put them pins on y'all's neck, but — " His laugh has just an echo of its usual thunder. "Just 'cause a chicken-bird's got them wings don't mean he's up to flyin', if y'all know what I mean." As his glasses de-fog, Cora might notice his canny eyes settling on her face, as if evaluating what he sees. "Y'all nervous?"

"I would not call it an ideal first attempt," Cora demures in reply. She doesn't look away as he laughs, not does her expression shift as he breaks into likely-unintelligible country aphorisms. Her gaze is keen as it meets his, and she shakes her head, "There wasn't really time for that, sir."

Pewter bites his tongue as he weighs the woman's response. Then, leaning forward as far as his hurting chest will let him, he grins a grin big enough to split his face in half. "Bullshit." And after another sadly-interrupted fit of the chuckles, he plows down more of that coffee, small eyes crinkling. "Y'all's supposed to be nervous. Frak, if I'd been there when the nukes counted down while a crazy lady who prays by whippin' herself gets on com all rantin' and ravin' with more tongue than'll fit ten rows of teeth — uh-huh. Don't care who y'all's are. That's the sort of shit that'll put the fear of the Gods in y'all's bones."

Cora's lips curve ever-so-faintly at Pewter's grin. Her shoulders lift in a shrug, and she replies, "I'm not sure 'nervous' is quite the word I'd use, sir. Mostly I was just pretty sure we were all about to die, which I think's probably a couple steps beyond nervous. That and angry."

"Y'all get used to it after while," Pewter muses, as much to himself as to her. Thoughtfully, the big man swirls his coffee about in his mug. Then: "Them other COs were talkin' while I was under." Changing the subject abruptly, it seems. "Mumblin' behind my back 'bout pullin' some shit while this ol' dog was gettin' bullets taken outta him." Putting down his coffee, the man's left hand settles on a purple velvet case sandwiched between an old folk CD and a sheaf of casualty reports. Thick fingernails pry it open to reveal a pair of brass pins, freshly polished. Commander's pins. "One of 'em thought to grab these from Laffo before we broke outta them cells," he murmurs.

Cora just nods, and then listens as Pewter goes on, glancing at the box and the other items on the shelf it occupies, then the pins within. "I would suspect they will be yours soon, sir," she says. She sips her coffee, and then lowers the mug, wrapping both hands neatly around. She remains silent otherwise, watching Pewter, perhaps in hope of picking up some clue as to why he is telling her this.

"That's their godsdamned plan," Pewter confirms with a grimace, hefting the box in his hand as if to test its weight. Odd, how it feels heavier than it really should. "Never let us get to know him, Laffo," he adds, almost as an afterthought. "Far as I knew he just stayed on that ship makin' — little dollhouse furniture or some shit. And losin' at Triad. Frak. Couldn't bluff to save his frakkin' life." Pewter's fingers snap the box shut with more force than perhaps necessary. "Never liked fishin' any, neither." The attempt at levity falls flat as he lapses into contemplative silence. "Y'all get used to it after a while."

Cora nods once, in acknowledgment and perhaps agreement. Then she just watches, and nods once more, offering, "I never met him, sir," of Laughlin. Not that it sounds as if she would have much more insight if she had. She listens as Pewter goes on, glancing but briefly at the pin-box. When Pewter falls silent once again, she waits a moment or two and then inquires, "Should I leave you to it, sir?" What precisely 'it' is, she leaves vague.

"Mm?" Pewter stirs, setting the box back down on the table. It takes effort, but eventually he produces another grin that he even manages to make look genuine. "Mm. Y'all's not gonna finish that coffee?" Dark eyes dart over to where Parry's paging through a well-worn copy of Tides of Love, as if sharing some private joke with the yeoman. "Now that there's some extra special brew."

"Yes, sir," Cora replies to the question about the coffee, after beat of looking at Pewter as if trying to determine whether or not he is serious. She glances at Parry and her book, and then lifts the mug, already half-empty, to drink the rest.

It won't take her long to realize that there's something inside — something hard and big enough to clink against her teeth before she swallows the damn thing whole. A sugar cube? A stray piece of glass? Or —

"Y'all'll want to wash that off 'fore y'all stick it on y'all's sash," Pewter advises, gesturing with his mug. "I'm supposed to be writin' the godsdamned citation now, but I've got more shit to do than one of 'em foxes in a house full of hen-chicks." A large hand slams his table in dismissal. "Wear it proud, Captain, just as long as y'all remember: ain't just wings y'all be needin' to get to flyin' up high."

Cora frowns as something solid knocks against her teeth and she lowers the mug, looking inside and drawing out the Bronze Cluster. There is a moment of surprise mingled with amusement, and then she moderates her expression once again as she looks up to nod, "Yes, sir. Thank you, Colonel." She passes the mug off to Parry and closes her hand around the coffee-dripping decoration, lifting her other hand to salute.

"Go on," says Pewter, jerking his head toward the hatch. "Git. And don't y'all be fallin' over that shotgun." Which lies on the floor beside the burnt engine cowling of a Viper, ready to be mounted.

You've got to admit: it's cooler than the fish.

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