PHD #113: Bad News and Philosophy
Bad News and Philosophy
Summary: Bad news is given and philosophy is discussed.
Date: 19 Jun 2041 AE
Related Logs: TBA
Alessandra Tillman 
Map Room
The one object that dominates this room is the one it is named for: the giant plotting table in the center of the room. Bottom-lit like the plot in CIC, this one is twenty feet across and about the same distance wide. The maps, which are rolled and kept in a locker at the side of the room, provide much more detail than most of the charts in CIC and are especially useful in planning tactical operations. Unscaled models of ships are available to be situated on the surface of the table and risers on each side of the room allow for a small audience to watch or be briefed. A single large LCD screen is built into the wall at the far end to display reconnaissance or other supplemental material.
Post-Holocaust Day: #113

The next day and Tillman looks like he hasn't slept yet. Though, this is more or less his office, so anything is possible. The ashtray is full and there's two empty plates of food on a nearby desk. With his blues tunic undone, the man seems to be working around the clock again. One might think with the operation over with, it would be time to relax. Ha! One would be wrong. Tillman is leaned over the map table and making notes onto a legal pad, the data coming off damage reports.

There's been a lot of activity since the jump team and those who had been stuck on Leonis has returned, a buzz which has missed Alessandra who had been injured and in sickbay for a while so she could be assessed and treated. One meeting with the clergy and a sponge bath later, Lucky has been kind of wandering the corridors until she found herself at the hatch to the map room. Taking a deep breath, she steps in and gives the room a quick sweep before she sees Clive. "That'll kill you," she says jokingly to let him know she's here; the joke is made about the food, her eyes leveled at the plates instead of the ashtray which is overflowing or in regards to how he looks like he hasn't gotten any rest. "How are you, sir?"

Tillman looks up and smirks. He hangs his head with her remark about it killing him. "Yeah, no shit, Lieutenant. Its why I usually dip it in coffee." He lifts his gaze back and shrugs. "Frakked if I know. Been looking at damage reports on and off all night. Passed out like this at the table and I don't even know how long I was out. But? I'm fed. Nicotene'd. Caffienated. And I didn't have to spend six weeks on a nuked planet. I can't complain." He nods towards her bandages. "What about yourself. Looks like you took some damage."

Alessandra's attention changes from the food to her arm; the majority of the bandages has been covered up by the long sleeve of the tunic or its high collar with only her bandaged hand and part of the gauze at her neck to be seen. "Got some burns when the Viper I was got taken out but I'm alright. Could have been worse." At least she didn't get shot or hit by shrapnel this time which Allie's chalking up to being the result of divine intervention. "So what are we looking at for losses, if I may ask?" Not having stayed around the hangar long enough to hear of any deaths or lost aircraft, she's desperate to be brought back into the loop.

Tillman nods. "You get any more holes burned or shot into you, I'm gonna start wondering if you're not a robot. You've got a lot of dedication, Allie. You do me and this boat proud." Though the last question gets a bit of a darker expression. "Yeah. A few preliminary reports. Medical is hesitant because they aren't sure about a few people yet, though." He takes a breath and rises from the table, gesturing her closer. "Look, Allie.. Got something I need to tell you."

Alessandra grins. "Robot, huh? Wouldn't that be a hoot? Would explain a lot of why I am the way I am. But seriously? It really is an honor to be able to serve the Cerberus, sir. Thank you for allowing me to do so." The smile that she has managed to wear becomes several watts dimmer when she watches the change play over Clive's facial features and then he beckons her nearer, something in how he does so getting her to become nervous. "What's up, sir?" A few steps is all it takes for her to at the table, it put between the two of them as she stand across from where the XO has risen.

Tillman steps over to her and moves to take both her hands in his own if she'll allow. He takes a long breath. "You told me once that you had strong feelings for a man aboard this crew. The name stuck with me because you're important to me, Allie." His eyes lift to her. "Allie. Captain Laskaris was killed during the extraction operation. The Raptor crew wasn't able to get him back fast enough and the med kit aboard had already been expended. He was shot covering the civilians while they were trying to board." There's no real easy or best way to say it.

It's the way he holds her hands that really nails home the severity of what it is he wishes to discuss with her, Allie's own suddenly trembling, her fingers gripping tight as if she needs to cling or fall. "Had…" Past tense never bodes well when it comes to talking about another person and, as Clive continues, it's proven to be true now. When the news of Anton's death sinks in her face goes stark white and the tears start to fall immediately and the trembling begins to over-take her entire body. "No…no, no. It can't be. It's…it's not true!"

Tillman squeezes her hands back and his own face falls when he see's her cry. "I'm sorry, Allie. But its true. He's down in the morgue." He sighs and looks back to her. "Nobody wants to lose someone they care about like that. Its horrible, I know. But its part of the risk you run." He drops her hands to pull her close for a hug.

Alessandra's easy to embrace as there is not a single ounce of fight inside of her, her body too limp to pull away if she had it in her mind to do so, her own arms only able to be draped around his body at his mid-section. "He at least died the way I believe he'd want to. While helping others." Looking up, she watches the Major. "Th-thank you for telling me, Clive. I appreciate it." The news is difficult to take but hearing it from the Major makes it at least a tiny bit easier to handle.

Tillman gives her a hearty squeeze, avoiding the burns, and takes a step away as she looks up to him. "You're welcome. Just hate to be the bearer of news like that." A hand lifts to her healthy shoulder and claps there like a father might to his child. "I think he would have wanted that, too. Wanna talk about it? Get it out of your system here?"

Alessandra's gives Clive a hug back before she too steps back, not so much that she's totally removed from the physical comfort the XO is willing to provide but enough to at least give some form of appearance at being 'proper' just in case someone not in the know is to walk in. No sense in giving the gossipmongers anything else to wag their tongues over, after all. "I understand. It isn't easy but I do appreciate you having the courage to tell me, sir. Considering everything that has transpired between us over the last couple of weeks…" Allie lets that hang for a while as she needs time to try and pull some form of calm about her, not quite ready to handle having to deal with her broken heart and reeling thoughts just yet. "I think I need to sit and think before I can talk about this, Clive. But I promise that I'll come to you as soon as I'm ready. Thank you."

"That's one of the reasons I told you, Allie. We've been through too much not to have that sort of respect. I would rather have told you than had the CAG or a doctor. Or heard through a rumor. I know what he meant to you." He reaches up to cup her cheek before he leans in to kiss her forehead. "I'll be here to talk if you need to. Don't try to handle this all yourself, though. Seek out your squadmates if you can. But I'm always here." His hands drop from her, the sympathy plain on his face. "I can't tell you how relieved I am that you made it out. Dunno what I would do without ya."

Alessandra gasps softly at the show of affection from the XO, the touch and the peck upon her brow surprising her. It's not given any protest, however, and is fact enjoyed despite the reason such was given, Clive being one of the very few allowed past her shields. "I will come to you as soon as I am able to, sir. I promise." When that's done and his hand is drawn away Allie turns a bit, putting the map table against her back, leaning against it. "I am glad I made it back, as well. If there's one person I wouldn't want to leave behind it's you, Major. Our paths still need to be intertwined. The…Lords? They're not done with us yet, it seems." Clive might have noticed that Allie hasn't been one for making comments like that, normally, religion not really being something she's prone to discussing. But here she is, talking about the gods and being one hundred percent serious as she does.

Tillman dives his hands into his pockets and inclines his head a touch as she begins talking about the Lords in that tone. Its not condescention but more a general look of interest. He moves to lean against the map table with her and nods once. "It would seem, certainly, that something has our fates intertwined. What's got you thinking its them in particular? Believe that maybe we're destiend for something?" The Major has been surprised by the supernatural and religion too many times in the recent months to let him get snookered again. He's serious.

Turning her head a little, she regards Clive with a warm smile, the gesture at odds with the sadness that she just can not get out of her eyes. Once he's comfortably braced against the table she is leaning against him, her shoulder pressed against his as it often is when they stand or sit together side by side and are alone. "I guess. I am not sure where I stand religiously speaking but who else could it be?" Her other shoulder's shrugged, lifted to just about shoulder level in a manner that hints well to her confusion over that. "Could just be fate, maybe, but who controls that? It isn't just some random events that has no one to direct them. Someone has to steer those involved in the right direction at first. The people involved meeting, for example. If it's fate…who gets the people in the right place in the right time?"

"Don't know. Maybe its the Gods. Maybe its just us. Maybe its nothing and we're seeing connections where its purely circumstantial." Tillman doesn't seem to mind the lean. Maybe it was expected. "It could just be that we're all here randomly. But..I've seen a lot in the last four months that makes me question that. A die hard atheist, I am. But some things just can't be explained. How we've survived? Skirted danger? Kept burning Vipers together so we can return home? Given us the clarity to see deep on missions despite everything going on around us? I don't think I'm about to go to church but no thinking man can simply dismiss what has happened. …Something in particular on your mind, kiddo?"

"It could be one or a combination of those things. But lately I've been thinking…hey, can I get a cig off of you, please?" Heavy conversations make indulging one's vice kind of a good thing, even if it's one that's indulged only rarely, that being why Alessandra asks Clive for a smoke. "I do have a lot on my mind. Not just the subject of the gods and their seeming need to put people together so they can do great things together. Why the Lords do it? Why you and me? Why anyone? I think that it's because there are times where people need other people. Not just to make great things happen but because they need each other simply for the sake of simply needing…is this making sense?" It is getting to the point where Allie is feeling like she's talking in circles and she pauses after asking that, allowing for the Major to ask for her to clarify if he needs her to.

Tillman just lifts the pack out of his pocket and offers it to her wordlessly, letting the LT talk. "No, I follow. I've thought about this, myself. I used to argue with my wife about fate and the definition of it all the time. We'd sit around on the porch, watch the sunset, and debate it." He clears his throat as he looks at the wall. "She told me once that we met because of two friends at school that thought we would be a cute couple. Then she went into the detail about why each of them would have thought that and all the unversal influences that effected it to culminate in that very moment while her and I watched the sunset. Annnnd I didn't have anything to say. There's just some immutable things about life that are too vast to just deny. I mean, I think about everything that's happened in my life to put me right here, right now, with you. To have this discussion? Its incredible. So denying fate for me..? I don't know anymore. Is it really so bad to think that we have a destiny? Or at least that we are heading someplace?"

Alessandra takes the smoke and removes one from the pack, it then looked at as if she expects it to chime in on the discussion, smiling wryly as she does. "Okay. We're on the same page, then." Allie slowly stretches her legs out, sliding the soles of her boots along the deck until she's able to cross right ankle over left, bracing herself with her empty hand until she's sure she can remain upright despite how she has herself positioned now. "So let's see. Bad shit happened which made more bad shit have to happen. You needed someone who could help, I was willing to step up to do so. But we had to meet and get to know and trust each other before hand. So we introduced ourselves in the library, got to know each other over a period of time, eventually getting to where we are now."

"Go deeper than that. Think about what kind of things have been said to you in your life that influenced your decision to become interested in flight. Even Vipers." Tillman lofts a brow at her. "What actiosn had to be taken in their lives and yours to get to the moment where they said those things that influenced you. The infinite variables that culminated in your simply joining the Navy. Is it hard to imagine that decisions were made about your destiny or fate generations before you were born? Was it even pre-determined? That causation of variables and the statistical chances are mind-blowing." The man just watches her.

Alessandra's by no means a simple-minded person and has been known to fall into bouts of very deep thinking but, even then, she didn't go that far, Tillman getting her to blink once it hits home just how far back this all could have started. "So this could have all been started eons ago, not just…" Falling quiet, she looks at her boots, her brow creasing as she soaks it in. "Gods, Clive. That's just insane to think about. Awesome, too. To think that our fates could have been mapped out long we were even born? I think I'd need to be drunk before I could even start to fathom that all."

Tillman dips his head once to her. "Exactly. My wife and I didn't discuss it again for awhile. That rolled around in my head for a long time. It made me actually re-evaluate who I talked to and how I talked to them. I started thinking about what drove people to be who they are and what kind of motivations and goals they had in life. Why they had them." The man shrugs. "But that's exactly right. Here we are on the edge of humanity. The brink of extinction. Five thousand people who survived. Out of fifty-billion. And we're fighting back. The implications of fate are staggering. The overwhelming odds we've already faced and overcome? That we are still fighting and winning against? Are we chasing the numbers of statistics? Or have we been picked and bred for something greater?"

"So us…all five thousand of us…who were somehow allowed to survive, had it pre-destined for us that we'd become the saviors of the human race in one way or another. Some would become warriors. Some would be driven to lead whether they want to or not. And others…they are drawn to help in other ways. Teaching. Having children. Whatever." The cigarette, still unlit, is put to her lips but left there, Alessandra content with it's presence, that alone being enough to sate her craving for now. "That means we have a lot expected out of us. Somewhere there is some form of higher power which is, for the lack of a better way of putting it, writing a script that we all will follow. Willingly or otherwise." Her arms

The Major shrugs. "Maybe. That's all possible, isn't it? But if its true, then your death isn't just a death. It means something when it happens. In this phase of the 'script' as you put it, we all serve our purpose. I play mine, you with your own. But it also means that your death is already known. So is mine. So is Quinn's. Just like Laskaris'. He gave his life so that another might live. Who knows what that protected person might do? Who knows what you're destined for?" That smile holds fast. "Do we even control our actions? I'm not sure how much of all of it I can grapple with. But I know one thing: Being here? I think we're all here for a reason. We survived by more than luck."

Alessandra holds out her left hand, palm up, trying to get Tillman to give up his lighter temporarily. One can only hold out for so long before a craving gets impossible to ignore, after all. "I kind of draw the line at being comfortable when it comes to the thought of having my every action being dictated for me." It's not especially easy to accept the fact that someone might be in that much control of her. "But putting my discomfort aside, let's talk a bit more about that. Let's say that's true. Then everything is decided right down to what kind of cereal we eat and if we wash our hands after every single time we use the shitter, yes?"

Tillman 'ohs' at the request for the lighter and hands it over. "Yeah. I know the feeling. Especially when I control a lot of fleet operations. The idea kinda scares me." He bugs his eyes slightly at the end. "But yes, putting it aside, everything matters. Because every little thing we do builds to a larger end. So you don't wash your hands one day. You get sick because of it and have to sit out a mission that you would have otherwise died on. You go on to have an idea that leads to the survival of humanity directly. Is that all because one day you didn't wash your hands? Or is there more at play? Every single little thing would have to matter, wouldn't it? Everything matters as much as the next. All if it would have to be dictated and performed in a perfectly balanced ballet of life and energy. Its incredible to think about, isn't it?"

"Thanks," Allie murmurs before taking the lighter, that then quickly used to light her smoke and then returned to the XO. The first draw of smoke is slowly taken in and just as slowly exhaled, there being little in the way of coughing for once. "Ah…much better. Thanks, Clive." Rubbing her nose with the pad of her thumb, she looks up, her lips pursed as she does. "There is a lot more than what can be seen going on. Outer influences. Divine intervention. It has a million different names. All for the same thing." Grunting, she looks at the Major a bit more as she pushes away from the table, her left hand slipped behind her back as if trying to hide it like that'd make it suddenly not be injured. "I think this is seriously getting close to being the kind of conversation that should be indulged in while partaking in copious amounts of booze, Major. Would love to continue this while we do. How about you name the time and place and I will bring the alcohol and we can get totally shitfaced and start really waxing philosophical?"

"Yeah, that's all true. Sort of. Its all theory. I read a book once that said mathematics proves the existence of the Gods through the birth of the universe. That the fact that we are here and exist to question it is proof enough that there is such a group of beings. Its actually a prevelent theory among quite a few astrophysicists." To the rest, he chuckles. "Fair enough, Allie. I'll find you with a bottle of something and we can toast teh dead and our own questions. Enjoy the smoke, too. I should get back to work, anyway."

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