PHD #145: Agamemnon
Summary: Sawyer has a frustrating conversation with the imprisoned admiral.
Date: 22 Jul 2041 AE
Related Logs: Refers to Warday logs and the interrogation of 11.
Sawyer Abbot 
Officer's Brig — Deck 6 — Battlestar Cerberus
These pair of cells is roomier than one might expect. Each one is provided individual access by a door at the front, located on the other side of the room from the hatch. Each one essentially an armored glass cage, this area is walked and guarded by Marines day and night. Privacy not being a huge concern for prisoners, inside the cell is a single bunk and toilet in full view with nothing else. All visitors must sign-in with the Marine at the desk. Cameras are located at the entrance and on the cell itself, everything recorded onto disk in the Security Hub.
Post-Holocaust Day: #145

The higher one flies, the harder one falls — or so goes the cliché most often bandied about in relation to the man (man?) locked behind bulletproof glass in this loneliest of lonely cells. Rear Admiral Michael Abbot — he still hasn't been stripped of his rank — has had quite little to do since his arrest so many moons ago, but all that time behind bars doesn't seem to have changed him one whit. Still informed by that same preternatural intensity which colored his very carriage when he was a free man, he's flipping through the pages of a novel the MP on duty has cleared for his consumption, heavy brows knit together as his eyes strain beneath the klieg lights of the brig.

Sawyer subjects herself to the (now) standard thorough search before she's allowed access into Abbot's cell. She's divested of a fountain pen, a lighter, and a hairpin used to keep her coil of hair atop her head but she's allowed to retain a small sheaf of papers. Oh, and she's forced to go barefoot as apparently her heels are now considered possible weapons. Go figure. She suffers this all with quiet dignity, and finally steps into the portion of the brig the erstwhile CO occupies. "Michael…Mind some company?"

It'll be a few seconds before Abbot looks up, so intent is he on finishing up the paragraph he's reading that he doesn't notice the fact that the door to his cell has opened. But even when he does, it seems as if all of his reactions are a few seconds late — to the point at which his hard blue eyes focus on a point above the blonde woman's head for the moment it takes for him to wet his lips and clear his throat. "Evening," he croaks — and coughs, to clear one last bit of phlegm from his throat. "Evening, Miss Averies." His voice isn't back to its usual smooth tenor, but he's certainly trying his best. "Certainly. I'd suggest you pull up a chair, but short of the toilet or the deck, you don't have many options. My new office is sadly devoid of … amenities." The good humor in his words is belied by his small, tight smile.

"That's alright, I've been assured that you don't bite." With that self-confidence Sawyer seems to exude, she takes a seat at the end of his sad little bunk without proper invitation. Head-strong or foolish, both terms can be equally and aptly applied to the woman. "You sound ill. Are you ill?" The papers she's brought with her are settled in her lap, her hands folded on top of them and carefully laced together so she doesn't fidget.

"No." Easy enough to say — though under the brilliant lights (turned up to maximum intensity to make sure the Marines have an unobscured view of his every action), his lightly tanned skin has taken on the pallor of an invalid. "You'll have to pardon my appearance. A few months ago, I had all the amenities necessary to ensure proper personal grooming but none of the time; nowadays, I suffer from a dearth of the former and a surfeit of the latter." Another thin smile as he shifts a few inches to port, causing the blanket covering his outstretched legs to crinkle as he moves. Making room for the reporter. "I'm trying to figure out what's worse."

"It's been that long, has it?" The reporter herself has lost track of time, Leonis blending together and the days after an apparent swarm if she can't pin down when Michael was locked away. Maybe she's just blustering for the sake of the Admiral. "So much has happened and yet…so little." Her fingernail peels at the corner of one page before she catches herself and stills. "I think the not knowing would be the worst. Any progress on your defense?" Maybe Sawyer is just here as a personal call.

"Yes, it has." With deliberate slowness, Abbot folds the cover of his book onto the fingers of his right hand, wedged between pages 244 and 245 to keep his place in the novel he's reading — the title of which is, for the moment, obscured by his blanket. "And as for my defense?" The man leans back until his head rests against the stainless steel headboard of his cot, not minding in the least the fact that it cuts into his skull. "I would have figured you of all people would know what I plan to do, Miss Averies." His thin smile fades into an expression of strange, unfamiliar resignation, though his blue eyes are as ice.

There's a tightening along the line of Sawyer's jaw, something she has to will away before she's able to speak. "Looks to me as if you plan to wither away and die because maybe you think that making waves right now would be detrimental to the health of the fleet. You're going to martyr yourself, aren't you, Michael?" Well, at least from where she's sitting, that's the light that's being cast on this situation.

"I'm told there's a tape, Miss Averies. Incontrovertible evidence. Verified by multiple sources." Abbot's words are spoken with impeccable precision. "I don't intend to be a martyr, not if I can help it." His own expression tightens in accordance with Sawyer's as he shifts once more on his bed. "There are men out there who would walk through fire if I asked them to — who'd take up arms against the usurper at my merest say-so." He chuckles ever so slightly at his choice of words, there. "Four of them died in the corridor off the Chapel the night I was arrested." A brief, expressive pause. "The Chapel."

"I wasn't here." Sawyer says softly, as if her presence aboard the ship could have some how stopped those events put into motion. "Incontrovertible though? Really. Then you need to get yourself a better JAG. Do you know how unreliable video footage is? Why isn't your defense trying to burn holes straight through this? You're accused of being a /Cylon/, Michael. Not sleeping with the Admiral's wife. You're just sitting here, reading a novel as if you've given up! There has to be a way to refute this. Deny you're a cylon. Tell me you're not a Cylon." Her hands have both curled over the edges of the paper, squeezing it tight enough that the blood ceases to flow to her fingers, knuckles paled to white.

"It wouldn't be a crime to sleep with the admiral's wife," Abbot observes ever so dryly, "seeing as she'd be my wife, but your point is noted." His words are dispassionate — almost mechanical — as he allows at last his hand to slip out from the grasp of his book. "More importantly: even if I did deny it, Miss Averies, how would you verify anything I said? They look like us, now, and the facsimile is so perfect even our doctors can't tell the difference." The cold decision calculus is spoken with an exacting — almost clinical — delivery. "Rest assured that the ritual denials will be there. The righteous indignation will not." Abbot closes his eyes as his fingers tap out a staggered rhythm on the spine of his book. "I don't imagine they let you bring cigarettes in here, did they."

"Deny it to me." Sawyer repeats. "To hell with the rest. Deny it to me."

Abbot blinks once; blinks twice — and then, with that same frozen half-smile that's been on his face for most of this conversation, he looks Sawyer in the eye: "Why?"

Sawyer leans forward over the papers she still clasps in her hands. "Because I want to hear it from your lips. Direct from the source. Michael Abbot, deny you're a cylon to me. You can do that, can't you? Five little words. I. Am. Not. A. Cylon. Say it." Maybe she's going some where with this. Maybe she's just plum off her rocker.

"Sure," says Abbot, after holding her gaze just a little longer than absolutely necessary. "Sure. I'm not a Cylon." Four words, not five, but the meaning is there, and he even manages to inject a certain degree of his usual conviction into the statement the reporter's so furiously demanding. And then, with the smallest of sighs, he's leaning over the side of the bed to set down his book. On the cover is an iconic funeral mask crafted from brilliant beaten gold, set against a field of black, and above it in blocked-out letters is the single word Agamemnon.

Light reading, no doubt.

There's a whisper of air out of her nose as Sawyer releases a breath she probably didn't realize she was holding. His response seems to be enough for her, at least in the sense that she's no longer dogging down that trail. Her attention drops to the paper in her hand, leafing through the top pages which seem of little consequence. She starts pulling out pictures, just two in all, and laying them on the mattress between them. "Now, I just need you to repeat a few things. Word for word as I say them, alright?" Morgenfield. Yazdah. "She is an number eleven." And Sawyer points to the appropriate picture.

"This isn't preschool." Abbot, having just moved to set down his book, now picks it right back up again. "I don't know what game you're playing, Miss Averies." With the implication being that he'd like to get some clarification — and soon.

"For frak's sake, Michael. I'm trying to help you, not play a game. You have to show me some trust here, as I've shown you. Put down the book, and pay attention. 'This is a number eleven'." Sawyer's finger jabs at the woman's image again, clearly just a copy that Sawyer wrangled some where along the way.

"Help me." Abbot shakes his head. "Help me do what? Incite another mutiny, perhaps? Right this mighty injustice inflicted upon me? No, Miss Averies — Sawyer — " Fingers splay out on the cover of the book, his thumb resting on the spine. "I once gave an order to kill my friend and the soldiers under her command to protect this fleet." He's talking about Admiral Esther Kulle, of course, and the sad case of the Oneida. "How hypocritical, to exempt myself from such a thing."

"Then accept that this is bigger than you. If you won't help yourself, then help me. Help humanity. This isn't about mutiny, this isn't about proving anyone right or wrong. This is about /this/ woman. And her being a number eleven. Focus, Michael. If nothing else, consider this a reason why they'll let me back in here to visit again. 'This is a number eleven'." Man, when Sawyer gets stuck on something, she's a broken record. "Say it, Michael."

"I've never seen the woman in that picture in my life." Spoken as he taps a knuckle on the relevant picture. "This one, this is Petty Officer Morgenfield. I assigned her to supervise the repair and maintenance of VSP-101 because she had experience with older spaceframes. But this other one?" Abbot shakes his head, his hands already flipping through the pages to find where he left off.

Sawyer shrugs simply, nudging the picture closer. "Then call her a number eleven. This isn't on the record. This isn't a test with a right or wrong ansewr. I just want you to verbally call her a number eleven. Then we'll be done. I'll leave you to read your book if you like, or we can go on to more pleasant topics. I wouldn't ask if it wasn't important to me."

"I don't understand what you're trying to do, Sawyer, and I try not to do anything I don't understand." A hint of the old admiral makes itself known in his tone, though sitting in his sweats — pin-less, his brass having been removed to prevent him from taking his own life — he doesn't look like anything of the sort. "So with respect, that's not a good enough reason."

Sawyer's bottom lip is touched by her tongue, rewetting the flesh with a quick pass. "What I'm trying to do, is develop a way to tell us apart, Michael. You said the doctors couldn't do it, but I believe…there are ways. If I told you the whole of it, before my tests are complete, it would damage the results and possibly compromise the study. Will you help me?" Instead of pushing the picture forward again, her hand simply lays on the corner of it.

"I'll say it again: I've never seen that woman before in my life." Abbot wipes a bead of sweat from his head, blinking momentarily as he gazes up into the brilliant light above him. A brief look of irritation on his face says all he needs to say about how he feels about the damn thing, but he knows better than to ask the MP on duty to turn it off. "I cannot and will not make any statement about her identity, positive or negative, lest it compromise my credibility before the tribunal." He points his finger at the camera above him, which has assuredly been recording everything that's just transpired. "I'm sorry."

Sawyer pinches her lips together and lowers her gaze. "It's called the Fisher Test. Some psychologists use it when trying to diagnose certain mental disorders. It's like being shown a picture of a cat and asking the person to say that it's a dog. The confirmed cylon model can not directly say a lie, when shown the truth. It's not physically capable of saying it's a dog. You wanted to know, and I told you. The people on the other side of the camera knew I was going to give you this test. They already assumed the outcome. You wouldn't say it's an Eleven. Do you want to try again?" She flicks her gaze up, hopeful.

"They did, did they." Abbot's smile is tired and weary. "I like this story, you know. Of Agamemnon in Boetia. He's gathered his legions; he's mustered his ships — but the fury of Artemis stilled the winds until he put the knife to Iphigenia, his daughter: his flesh and blood." The admiral finds at last the relevant page, his eyes boring into the thin paper beneath his hands. "And the price of his mighty triumph at Ilium? He was caught in a net by his unfaithful wife while bathing, and with one blow of an axe his head was severed from his neck." Abbot's hooded gaze dances back up to the camera. "Thus will those proverbial chickens ever come home to roost. Good night, Miss Averies. It was a pleasure to see you."

Sawyer gathers her spread papers in slow deliberate movements, as if giving him time to have second thoughts. The tremble in her hand betrays something quite different, however, as if there is some thin veil of composure she's trying to maintain. "I'm sorry." Is all she can manage to choke out, before her voice wants to commit treachary as well. Other words are bitten back, her hitch of breath cleverly concealed behind a clearing of her throat. "Enjoy your book. You'll have to lend it to me when you're through."

"I'll make a note of it," says Abbot, tapping his fingers against the spine of his book as he watches the woman go. And then, more softly: "I'll make a note of it."

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