BCH #001: After the Hunt
After the Hunt
Summary: Cidra basks in the aftermath of the war games and settles some things. Laskaris gets a new assignment. Later, Sitka comes by with some questions, and the conversation turns to matters far afield from piloting.
Date: 25 Feb 2041 (RL 02.25.2010)
Related Logs: Who Hunts the Hunter Air Wing
Cidra Laskaris Sitka 

[ Naval Offices ]----——[ Deck 10 - Battlestar Cerberus ]

This area is set-up much like any standard office building. Cubicles have been constructed using cheap waist-high walls, their contents left neutral for whoever needs to use them. Inside each cubicle is a desk with a laptop and chair. Simple overhead lights bring dull illumination to the room except over the back wall where each one of the colonies twelve flags hangs from its own pole. Fake, potted plants dot the room and seem to be standard issue along with the water cooler and coffee machines. Off the main room are a few private offices such as that of the JAG or CAG.

-=[ Condition Level: 3 - All Clear ]=---------

Cidra didn't bother to shower before heading back to her offices, though she has at least changed out of her flight suit and into duty fatigues. Tangled dark hair down now, hanging in tendrils around her shoulders. She's in her office, the hatch slightly ajar, whisps of cigarette smoke drifting out of it. She is at her desk, smoking and waiting.

And neither did Lasher take time for a shower, having only rushed a comb through his hair and pulled on a fresh uniform before making his way up to the battlestar's collection of Fleet offices. A cigarette is hastily tossed away as he pulls up next to Cidra's hatch; he knocks lightly on the metal to get her attention before stepping in. The Viper pilot offers a perfunctory salute as he stands in front of her desk. "Reportin' as ordered, Major," Lasher announces in his accented baritone.

Cidra rises, acknowledges the salute, and sits again. Putting out her cigarette. Carefully. She can still use this particular cancer stick, not even half-smoked as it is. "Lieutenant. Close the hatch, please, and sit." Her tone and expression are hard to decipher, though there's always an inscrutable quality about the CAG. She does not seem displeased, though there is a weighing quality in her blue gaze as she regards him. Even moreso than usual.

Lasher's got a pretty good Triad face himself. His features are a masklike facade as he quickly closes the hatch and steps back over to the desk, taking the seat opposite Cidra. The lieutenant doesn't speak; his head is held high, slate colored eyes meeting hers as he waits for the major to break the silence.

"You rose to the task of coordinating the Vipers tonight," Cidra says. It's more an observation than anything else. What she /thinks/ of how he rose to it is, as of yet, hard to discern. "Was that your first time as lead an exercise of that magnitude?" A pause, but another question in too short a time for him to properly respond. "How do you think did?"

To Cidra's first statement, Lasher has no response. It seems neither complement nor condemnation, and it doesn't seem to require a direct response. But then he's asked a question, and he nods. "It was, sir. I've flown in a couple wargames before, back when I was on the Valkyrie, but never in a position of leadership." In response to the second question, his head cants slightly to one side, and he purses his lips thoughtfully. "We won, didn't we?" His tone is dry, but he doesn't smile. "I could have been quicker getting off attack orders, I think… a commander shouldn't have t' be prompted for orders. But I wanted t' make sure I made the right calls, and I believe I did just that."

Cidra nods a little to that, blue eyes steady on the lieutenant. Still hard to read. "Coordination is the key to an exercise like that, Lieutenant, so I do not think you need fret over that. You were focused and kept the Vipers together tightly. And we won the day, yes." Though that seems incidental to her in this. "Your decision to take the Vipers into the flak area was very aggressive. Particularly with two Rooks flying with you." It's an observation, and not an approving one, though there's no rebuke in her tone, either. Her brows arch, and she speaks not again until she gets a reply to that.

At first, Lasher doesn't reply to that, either. But this time, after a moment's pause, it becomes clear that she does expect a response to that observation. His shoulders twitch in a minute shrug. "I didn't see as I had much of a choice, Major. After Praetorian made her jump, Cerberus wasn't in a position t' bring heavy fire t' bear, while the frigate could have just sat there and sent a flood of missles up her tailpipe. Hell, she nearly did. Without Cerberus' heavy guns, my Vipers were the only ones in position t' do something about the situation." He pauses. "There's a quote I heard in flight school, sir, and it resonates with me t' this very day. 'Only the spirit of attack, born in a brave heart, will bring success to any fighter aircraft.' Oh, suren it was a gamble, and a risky one, but it needed t' be made — and it worked out."

"Tonight you faced lasers. That flak could not have killed you. It shall not always be so. You took a risk. Not only with your own skin, but those the pilots under your leadership." Cidra's tone remains level, devoid of either criticism or praise. "I do not say it was wrong. It was not what I would have done but I am a defensive tactician. And you pulled it off. I want you to think on this, however. A leader holds the lives of those under him in his hands each time he gives an order. And I am about to put more responsibility on your shoulders, so it is important you keep this in mind." He's not here to get a dressing down for it, then.

Lasher's about to say something, but the remark about added responsibility, admittedly, catches him by surprise. His only reaction is a quick blink, though, as he manages to keep his stony calm quite admirably. "If I may, sir? As far as I'm concerned, risk is part of our job description as fighter pilots." There's a pause as he considers his words. "I will, however, keep that closely in mind in the future, as you say." He continues to study Cidra's expression, suddenly curious.

"Risks must be calculated, Lieutenant. We all risk our leaves each time we fly. But some risks are more worth taking than others. In any case." Cidra gets down to business. "You may have taken note Captain Abbascia was *not* leading tonight's exercise on the Viper end," Cidra says. "He was supposed to, but he had other obligations. Captain Matise was injured this afternoon." Squad leader of the VF-213. The Mighty Lions. Pushing forty, solid pilot, nice enough guy, family man from Virgon. "It was not flight-related, so do not be surprised if you have not heard. He took a bad fall down the ship stairs. Could have cracked his back. Sickbay says he was lucky. He ended up with only his leg broken in three places. But he is well off flight-status and probably due for a stint in rehabilitation. His squad is heavy with junior officers, there is no one suitable to take over his duties, so Captain Abbascia has been temporarily reassigned to lead the Might Lions. He was the easiest to move. You and Lieutenant Sophronia are both experienced and have good heads on your shoulders. You are slightly senior, however, and have shown yourself capable as a leader among the junior officers within your squad. I wanted to test you tonight. You passed." Still being a bit coy, but it should be clearer where this is going.

Well, that's… not quite what Lasher'd expected, perhaps. He blinks again, and by now he's sitting very straight in his chair. It takes him a moment to digest the information. "Ah… no, sir, I hadn't heard," he manages finally. "I'd wondered what had been keeping him from the games, actually." Meaning Kefir, of course. The last statement has Lasher's full attention, but he says nothing, waiting for Cidra to continue. At this point, the woman almost seems to be enjoying herself.

"I am temporarily placing you as squad leader within the Black Knights," Cidra says. "It shall likely not be for long. I hope to a replacement for Captain Matise when we return to Picon. You shall likely not be tasked with much more than day-to-day duties now that the war games are concluded. But the military abhors a leadership vacuum, and I do not want things slipping within the squadron. I shall be on hand to assist you however I can, of course, but you will have more responsibilities in coordinating with the Vipers under you. I shall be interested to see how you rise to the challenged. You did so tonight. Do you have any questions about this assignment?"

At last, Laskaris' icy calm cracks, as he manages a wry smile. He seems clearly pleased, if it's only a temporary assignment; it's doubtful he ever expected to get a command of his own, after all. There's a quick shake of the head. "No, sir, nothing I can think of for now. I think I can mind the store a few days, though I'll be sure t' find you if I think of anything I need to ask later." A pause. "I appreciate your confidence, Major."

"I hope it is well-placed," Cidra says, standing. "That is all, Lieutenant. You are dismissed. You deserve a shower. I shall pass the word around the Air Wing myself. You can consider your post effective tomorrow. It is temporary, but it will be a valuable learning opportunity for you, I think. Take from it all you can, and keep the Knights well in hand. Oversight of pilots, it is like herding cats. Do not be afraid to knock on my hatch if they stray into the nip." She extends a long-fingered hand to him.

As Cidra stands, so does Anton. A hand quickly snakes out to take the major's; his grip is firm, confident, but not crushing. Laskaris musters a quiet chuckle at her last comment. "Cats. I'll keep that in mind, sir." The rest of her words are replied with a grave nod; a learning opportunity, indeed.

Cidra does not shake. She does not shake hands, really. She just clasps Laskaris' hand in hers firmly for a moment, blue eyes seeking to meet and lock with his. She holds it longer than one normally would a shake, but she finally does release him. "Rise to the occasion, Lieutenant." It's both a blessing and a rather firm instruction. That weighing quality has not left her eyes as she watches him go.

Her grip holding him in place a moment longer than he'd expected, Lasher's eyes flick back to meet the CAG's. The seriousness in her gaze wipes any and all traces of mirth away from his features. There's silence, and then, finally, he nods. "So I shall, Major." And wonder of wonders, the blond man actually sounds like he means every word of it. Then, finally released, Lasher is on his way.

(…a brief time later…)

Sitka arrives from the Deck 10.
Sitka has arrived.

Two pilots enter, one pilot leaves. Lieutenant Laskaris, that is, exited Cidra's office no long ago. He may have been seen in the corridors as one was coming up. Cidra has left the hatch to her little cubby of an office space ajar. She's managed to dig herself up a cup of something to drink in whatever interim she had and is sipping it. Sitting quietly at her desk. Contemplative. The cup she's sipping on smells faintly of some sort of herbal tea. Vaguely floral.

Enough time's passed, thankfully, since the evening's wargame for Sitka to have grabbed a quick shower. He's in his regulation fatigues, and a very non-regulation tee shirt beneath the unbuttoned jacket as he nudges open the hatch and steps inside the CAG's office. "Chamomile?" he asks, with a flickering little smile as his eyes alight on the woman.

Cidra has not showered, for her part, though she's at least changed into duty fatigues. The observation gets a surprised sideways look, faint grin, and finally a chuckle. "Not on a battlestar, alas. It has been long since I have partaken." She gives him a wink. "It is from Gemenon, however. My father sent it in his last package. It is made from rosehips. Very good for one's health. Excellent vitamin content. Would you like a cup, Captain?"

His eyes linger on Cidra for a few long seconds, then turn away when she asks if he'd like some. "Thanks, but I wouldn't want to eat into your stash, sir." It sounds sincere, rather than a brushoff. "Do you have a few minutes?"

"It is here to be enjoyed. And I promise you, you will remain quite level," Cidra says. She gets up to pour another cup from a decanter on one shelf, setting it on the desk across from her for him to take. Or not. She then sits back down. "We must take what pleasures we can aboard ship. And I have several minutes. What is on your mind?"

For all that Sagittarian men seem to have a less than shining reputation, let it not be said that they can't polish off their manners once in a while: after a hesitation, Sitka reaches for the cup of tea, and settles into one of the chairs opposite Cidra. "Well, to be frank sir, I'm not accustomed to flying wing for a pilot my junior, unless I've done something to piss off my CO." And he pauses there, blows on the surface of his mug, and watches for the CAG's response.

Cidra nods slowly. "I suspected that was what you wanted to speak about. It was not a slight to you. I should have taken the time to explain to you prior to our commencing the exercise but there was little time. And, I admit, I was perhaps being overly clever. Not directed toward you, but toward Lieutenant Laskaris. The Black Knights had lead on this exercise but it was Captain Abbascia who was supposed to be in charge of the Viper's part in it. He was not, as you saw. Other duties kept him from it, and will keep him from managing the Knights for some time, I think." There's more to that story, but she doesn't seem averse to telling it. She does pause to sip more at her tea. And then, out of the blue asks, "Do you believe in omens, Ibrahim?"

Sitka scratches at the bridge of his nose with a thumbnail, his eyes focused on Cidra's hands rather than her face, while she speaks to him. "He's a solid pilot," is his first contribution. And then he confides, "It caught me a little out of left field. Not so much that he flew lead for the mission, but that you had me on his wing, rather than section lead." He leans back in his chair with the tea cupped in his hands, lips twisting with a wry smile. "I know it's been a few years since I've done this, sir." By 'this', he presumably means combat in general. "So if I'm not living up to your expectations for me, somehow.." And then her question, which stalls him for a second or two. "No, sir." He seems certain of that.

"Sister Karthasi led a tasking of the auspices before we left drydock. In the traditional manner, with the sacrificial heifer. I assisted her with the ritual and it…the omens were dark." Cidra shrugs at his answer. "A disquiet has filled my heart since the blood of that cow spilled, I shall admit. The way this ship launched, the little accidents on board…But. Never mind of that." For a moment, more of a door to the woman's composed nature seemed to crack open. But it closes as quickly as it did. "In retrospect it would have been wiser to have you flying section lead over Sophronia and Apostolos. Part of me did not want to separate you and Lasher. You work exceedingly well together and I wanted to exploit that. But a stronger lead in that pair would have aided the exercise. When I said it was no slight I meant you. You have more than exceeded any expectations I had of you, Captain. You do things in a Mark Two that many pilots here cannot manage in a Seven, and you do them without being a hot-headed egotist. I mourn that i will lose you when a month is out. Tell me. And please be entirely honest. I need an unvarnished opinion. How do you think Lasher did tonight?"

The praise is accepted in silence. He seems, in fact, almost shy about hearing such things, and drowns the momentary discomfort in a sip of tea that's still too hot. A sharp breath's expelled, and his eyes come up for a moment as if to see whether she caught that. "For what it's worth, sir, I've been pleasantly surprised by you, as well. I've had a few CAGs in my time. None of them with your.." His brows furrow as he hunts for the word. "Grace." That, too, seems to bring on another bout of slight awkwardness. "He was a little too hesitant to give orders. His tactical application was excellent when he remembered to do so, but his awareness of the battlefield was lacking at times. Flying lead on an operation like that is about more than just shooting pretty, sir. He needed to be more on the ball. That said-" He blows on the tea, and finally takes another sip. "-he did an excellent job, if that was his first time out as flight lead on something of that scale. I would've made a different call on the Praetorian, but I think his call turned out to be the right one. He's got the chops, I just think he needs a little polish."

Cidra gives the praise in a simple, straight-forward manner. Though his own descriptor of her gets a look of actual surprise. She lets out a low chuckle. "I still feel an outsider in the Fleet at times. Though I have made it my life now." Is that regret in her tone? A little. That earlier door isn't entirely closed, but she's still a difficult one to read. A nod in agreement with all of his assessment of Laskaris. "It was the first time he had taken a leadership role like that. I must admit, I was surprised when he approached the Praetorian's like that as well. It was not the call I would've made, either. Laskaris is a more…aggressive flyer than I. But it paid off. I must admit, I put him in that position as a test in large part, and he passed." A pause. And then off on yet another note, though this one at least sounds like it's going somewhere related. "Have you met Captain Matise? Squadron leader of the Might Lions. He was injured this afternoon." Squad leader of the VF-213. Pushing forty, solid pilot, nice enough guy, family man from Virgon. "It was not flight-related, so do not be surprised if you have not heard. He took a bad fall down the ship stairs. Could have cracked his back. Sickbay says he was lucky. He ended up with only his leg broken in three places. But he is well off flight-status and probably due for a stint in rehabilitation. This was in large part the reason Captain Kefir Abbascia was unable to take lead in the exercise. He had new duties to sort out."

At the comment about her feeling like an outsider, it almost seems like Sitka might say something. It's on the tip of his tongue, and then it's gone. His tea cup's balanced on one knee while Matise's story is told, and he leans to one side to slide out his pack of cigarettes. Cidra gets a questioning glance in between that, and him actually tapping one out. "I'm sorry to hear that," he offers, when she reaches the matter of his leg broken in three places. "Will the Captain be taking over command of the Lions, then? It'd explain why you're looking to put Lasher in the hot seat, I guess."

"Captain Abbascia will be assuming temporary squad leadership of the Lions, yes," Cidra says. "It was unavoidable. The VF-213 is loaded down with junior officers. None of them can assume the role, even temporarily. There were more senior pilots in the Knights. Laskaris and Sophronia both had good heads on their shoulders and a decent amount of years in. Lasher is the slightly more senior, however. And there are other factors. I have put him in place temporarily to assume squad leader duties for the Knights. Now that the games are over I do not think he will have to do much. I hope to get a replacement for Matise when we get back to Picon. But the military abhors a leadership vacuum. Besides, I am curious to see how Lasher handles the role. He is very raw, but has a lot of potential, I think. If he can channel his energies."

When no objection's given, the Captain finishes tapping out a cigarette, lights it, and switches off for a sip of the tea. Never mind the odd pairing. "As far as the Knights go, I think Lasher's your best bet," he opines, watching the woman for a moment or two before continuing. "Besides, sometimes you've just got to take a gamble. It'll usually weed out the hot shit pilots from the ones with leadership potential." An uncomfortable pause follows. "I'm not a religious man, sir. Like I said, I don't believe in omens. I'm curious though, why you brought it up." His eyes find a spot just below and to the left of her own, at the curve of her cheek, and remain there.

"We are done with the games now. I shall keep an eye on him, and our responsibilities will fall more into the mundane. He shall be back to being a simple lieutenant soon enough. With some small measure of command experience, and perhaps a better perspective on what his squad leaders have to put up with." Cidra sips her tea, not trying to hold Sitka's gaze this time. The CAG is usually all about eye contact, but her mood is wandering toward the abstracted at the moment. It has her usual aura of balance a bit off. "I was raised to put stock in such things. My parents were both priests. I studied theology myself on Gemenon, nearly took the vows as a sister of Athena. I…took another path, however. Anyhow. This accident with Matise…it was the latest of many little things. By themselves they are nothing but…" She trails off, shaking her head. "The auspices have weighed on my mind since I saw the priestess here read them. But. Such things, I do not speak of much to my fellow pilots. In my daily dealings I try to be more…pragmatic. I do not know why I speak of them to you now, except that I have talked of it to no one since the night of the sacrifice." A shrug. "I should make a proper visit to the chaplain, I suppose."

A curt nod seems to suffice as closure where Laskaris is concerned, and a column of ash is tapped off the Captain's cigarette during the brief lapse in conversation that follows. He observes, once more, the woman's hands rather than her eyes, though his come up briefly when she mentions her parents, and her heritage. Gemenese. That seems to cause a few things to fall into place. His own accent bears a very faint trace of Sagittarian that he appears to go to great lengths to obliterate. "Maybe because I'll be out of your hair in a week," he suggests, with a slight crook of a smile that does little for his brooding countenance. "And I'm not one of your regular pilots. Not to sound sacriligous, but the thing with omens, sir.." He sips from his tea, swallows, and continues, "..is that they're everywhere, if we go looking for them."

Cidra's own slightly mellow Gemenese drawl is still strong, for her part, albeit tempered by a decade-and-change living off-colony. She smiles that faint smile of hers, nodding to that. "It is easier to say such thigns with those you only pass by fleetingly in life, yes. An old…friend of mine said it to me once. You lose that risk of fall-out. Well. Do not think too badly of me during these last weeks, Captain. For I shall remember you well. And you've a point." Her tea finished, she goes for a cigarette herself now. The office has a lingering smell of tobacco smoke. "You look too hard for portents, they appear everywhere."

Too slow in offering his own pack of cigarettes, Ibrahim at least thinks to (belatedly) slide over his lighter. That's twice in one evening, and probably more manners than anyone else has seen out of him in the past two weeks. "Don't think badly of you at all, sir. I've had odder ducks as commanding officers. Can I ask you a question?" His cigarette's brought to his lips, cheeks hollowing out briefly as he takes a long pull from it.

Cidra takes the lighter and fires up, offering a soft "Thank you" before taking a languid drag. Her own manners are impeccable generally. It seems a part of her smooth surface. "You just did," she replies, a little whimsically. Her mood continues to wander tonight. "But you may ask another."

It's the sort of trick Sitka himself might have pulled upon an unsuspecting junior officer. The tease prompts a small smile from the Captain, and there's a soft creak of the chair under his bulky frame as he reaches across to retrieve the lighter. "Why piloting? You say you nearly took your vows. Had a change of heart?"

Cidra's gaze goes sideways to catch Sitka's as she asks that question. She pauses long, and smokes some more, before answering. "You say you are not religious. I am…not sure you will understand. I am the only one in my family who joined the Fleet but my parents, they believed very much in service. My mother is a priestess of Hera. The mother goddess' path is an…unforgiving one. Steep, and full of obligation. I admit, I could not walk easily as a devotee of Hera, though I honor Her. My mother believed, from when I was very young, that I was *meant* to become a priestess of Athena. She drove me very hard toward it. I do not say this to slight her. The path of Athena is always one I have embraced. Yet…seminary. It did not feel right. Much as I honored the goddess, I was not called to Her in that manner. I still wanted to serve, however. I had studied the owl much. It is an important symbol of the goddess Athena, and it always called to me. It is a bird of prey, but not a hawk. Softer, it hunts more with cunning than with brute force. I held this image in my head much my last year in the Colleges, when I associated more with the recruiters on campus. I was looking for something, perhaps. It was not until that summer that I made my decision to join up officially but…I was drawn to flight. To see the worlds beyond Gemenon. To this sort of service. I was called to it, in a way I had never been to the priesthood." A shrug, and another drag on her cigarette. "As I said, I am not sure what any of that means to you, but it was important to me."

Sitka allows eye contact for a bare moment or two when it's sought, and then it's invariably shirked again. Tradition. Custom. She may know of the ways of his countrymen, or she may not. By the time she's finished with her story, his cigarette's been smoked to about half, and he reaches across to the ashtray on her desk, thumb flicking the filter a couple of times. "Sounds to me like you worship her in your own way. Athena, that is." His lips part slightly to say something more, and there's a second's ensuing silence before he recites carefully: "In arms rejoicing, who with furies dire and wild the souls of mortals do inspire. Gymnastic virgin of terrific mind, dire Gorgon's bane, unmarried, blessed, kind: mother of arts, impetuous; understood as fury by the bad, but wisdom by the good." The scripture's capped off with a half-smile that seems equal parts contemplative as rueful. There's no mirth in it. "I'm sure you've got a lot of work to get done, sir. I should leave you to it." His cigarette's toked from once more, and dunked into the ashtray; smoke pours from his nose on the long exhale that follows.

The scripture comes as a surprise. She is silent as he recites it, leaning back in her chair, holding her cigarette between her fingers. Just listening to the familiar rhythm of the words. The smile she gives him in return is thoughtful as well. It's an incongruous piece of him that she adds to whatever little puzzle she's assembling in her head. "I have always loved that passage very much. I bid you a good eve," she says simply, continuing to hold her cigarette clasped between her long, slim fingertips. Watching him through the rising slow curls of smoke as he takes his leave.

No explanation's asked for of the dissonance between this and his proclaimed atheism, and none's offered. The lighter's tucked back into a pocket of his fatigues, and the Captain pushes to his feet again with a slight wince. Nothing, hopefully, a good night's sleep won't take care of, given the demonstration he's been tasked with leading tomorrow. Big day. "Take it easy, sir," is his low-voiced rejoiner, knuckles lightly rapped on her desk before he turns and ambles off for the hatch.

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