PHD #068: Bargain with the Devil
Bargain with the Devil
Summary: After learning of her new assignment, Sawyer stops by Tillman's office to drop off some news. An interesting deal is struck.
Date: 5 May 2041 AE
Related Logs: Right after Go.
Tillman Sawyer 
Naval Offices
Post-Holocaust Day: #68

Naval Offices, it is. The XO has carved out a small, locked office towards the back where he can get his paperwork done in silence and away from the rest of the officers in the communal berthings. With the door cracked and light on at the later hour, its obvious that he's getting work in while he can. So recently in CIC and on watch, the Major is still in his blues though the top buttons of the jacket have been left undone.

There's a polite knock on the door, merely a formality as Sawyer doesn't wait to be properly greeted and offered entrance. "You became a Major. When did that happen?" Her voice is tired, but bemused. "Maybe you were one all along, but I generally don't miss those details." The reporter nudges the door open further, standing in it's frame. Not dressed in her normal professional attire, it's more like she's outfitted to the nines. A black off the shoulder sweater, grey pencil line skirt hose and heels. "Mind if I come in?" She hoists a leather portfolio up, indicating that she's here for business instead of pleasure despite her attire.

Tillman glances up at the knock and smirks at seeing who it is. "Yeah. Abbot promoted me when he made me XO after Sarkis stepped back." He shrugs and gestures to a chair. "Please. Take a seat. You look.." The man nods to her attire. "Quite good. Must be turning a few heads through the corridors, yeah?" he asks with a smirk as he reaches for a mug of coffee that steaming on the side of his desk.

"Stepped back…" Sawyer repeats with a little smirk at the term. Of course, she's the one that helped spread the truth of what eventually happened to the former XO, so she knows first hand. "Guess my mind has been too pre-occupied to notice. Congratulations on the promotion, Major Tillman. Has a ring to it." She slips in and nudges her portfolio on to some clear real estate of his desk, smoothing out her skirt as she sits. "All part of my strategic attack on the Commander, I assure you. If there were casualties in the corridor, it's all in the price of war. Which we seem to have won." She says without any actual jubilation at that fact, reaching forward to finger open the portfolio and slide the posting towards him which Abbot's aide is already getting ready to put into circulation post haste. "At least for now. The civilian workforce has been pushed through. The conscription idea has been shelved."

Tillman doesn't comment on the remarks about Sarkis. He'll maintain his line there. "Thank you, Sawyer. I appreciate it." He doesn't say anything else until the end. The man's thin smile spreads. "Outstanding. Anyone lost or walking into walls in the corridor were worth it. Probably pissing off quite a few lady members of the crew, too. Can't make them happy that you get to walk around in that while they're forced to wear something a little less flattering." He winks and tilts his head towards the coffee pot. "Anyhow, you say we won the war. Damned glad to hear it. Did he put up much of a fight?""

"Well, I'm pretty sure he spoke to me like I was a damnable idiot but seemed mildly impressed by my initiative and organizational skills." The way Sawyer speaks, she sounds mildly bitter and not entirely composed as she normally is. But then again, the last time Tillman saw her and they spoke of the draft, she damn near lost it too. Maybe she /is/ losing it. "On the up side, I'm now a full blown War Correspondent, so I'm afraid the kick off of this civilian work force will have to have your office dealing with the brunt of it. Until I get back that is. Not much time. Less then forty-eight hours in fact. I have a lot to do, but at least I've already picked up my requisition form for a firearm."

"Fun. Well? At least the point was made and conveyed. Admirals aren't used to having people bring problems to their doorsteps and having their orders questioned. I know I'm impressed." The man settles back into his chair with the mug of coffee, sipping at it as she finishes. The last, though, seems to take him a little by surprise. "You're going to Leonis?" Blink. No, no concern about the workforce being sent to him. Yet. "Shit, Sawyer. Here -" He opens and closes his hand in a 'gimme' motion towards her leather case. "Give me the form. ..You sure about this?"

"If you'll forgive the colloquialism, Clive, do bears shit in the woods?" Sawyer bends forward enough to slip him the requisition form to have an official signature signed off on it. The marines might raise a brow, but no one's going to question the XO's X on that line. "I'm going. Taking a digital camera, a pad of paper, and a whole lot of piss and vinegar with me. You wanted me to write our history, and I damn well take my job seriously." When he said he was impressed, was there a hint of pride in Sawyer's eyes?

Tillman's smile turns a bit more feral as she seems so enthusiastic for the mission. He takes the form and writes out a long note, speaking as he does so. "I'm issuing orders for you to be given a sidearm and outfitted with combat gear. You'll get explosive rounds for the sidearm and a good amount of ammo. Webbing, a helmet, body armor. A small personal med kit, too." He signs the piece of paper and notes of who it is who signed it and the date before stapling it to the form and handing it back to her. "Wearing that is non-negotiable. Cylons won't care who you are if you run into them. I don't want anything to happen to you." Tillman's head tilts towards her with the last, genuine concern edging into his voice. "But I'm glad to hear you're hell-bent on going. I can't tell you how mad I am that I'm banned from going. If I had my way, I would be personally leading this mission. But it would seem Abbot has better ideas. …He explain why we are going?"

Sawyer gives a little shake of her head, "I got thick file marked 'Top Secret' and had to swear on my crispy parents' bodies that anything within would stay out of circulation until we got back and I had written a proper report about it all. I haven't had a chance to read anything, and Abbot was on a little power trip and he didn't deign to explain anything to me. Merely 'dismissed' me so he could brood and break more of his toys." She glances up, realizes she's three steps into a tirade and flashes an apologetic smile. "All that research I was doing about the draft churned up some new knowledge, Clive. One glaring thing being, they never send the head honchos into the fray. Someone has to stay back to bark out the orders, and who better then your Commanding voice. Must be horrible not being expendable, Major."

Tillman grunts. "Yeah. He's concerned about details of the mission going out. We don't want any traffic about it on the comms frequencies. But he didn't. Mm." He glances to the desk and then back up to her as she mentions the last. "Nobody on this crew is expendable. Yet at the same time, we all are going to die some day. The only thing we can do is try and make a difference between today and when our fates are met." He sits forward and rests his forearms on the desk. "I've been off the ship. I lead a fireteam up through Parnassus." His hand drops to the side and he looks down as he rifles through a folder in a locked drawer. "I understand the logic but that doesn't mean I like it. Rules like this mean that I have to maintain command authority from behind a desk. Ordering people into combat with a signature is something that no Marine ever respects about another. If I thought I could get on this ride to Leonis without having the Admiral shoot me, I would." When his hand comes back up, he hands her the AAR he wrote from Parnassus. "Everyone puts down what they can in this fleet. Including me."

Sawyer gives a glance down at the paper he hands her, then she whisks it away into her portfolio before he can ask for it back. "So your glory days aren't over yet. Good to hear." She flashes a smile, the sting from her conversation with the Commander starting to fade. "So what can you tell me about Cobra Talon. Give me your abridged version, so I'm not diving into a concrete pool without looking. Better yet, are there any briefings you can sneak me into? Pull those XO strings of yours?"

"Heh. Glory days." The Major shakes his head, smirking. "But Cobra Talon. Yeah." He takes a long breath and exhales. "We sent out a recon to Leonis a few weeks back. Got some interesting results and we've made some really weird connections between Admiral Hauck - Parnassus' CO - and Leonis so we decided to check it out. Turns out we found something worth investigating. Found heat blooms and a Colonial transponder inside a hardened facility at a company called 'Molgen' in Kythera. We think it has something to do with the reason the Cylons are on Leonis in such large numbers. As for briefings?" Tillman shakes his head. "I imagine you will get one from Major Barto once you get aboard the Eidolon." He falls silent, watching her for a moment. Eyes wander over her body language and meet back at her own. Its an assessment, not a hint of something else. "You did investigative journalism, right? You pegged people into corners by connecting the dots?"

"Busted a drug ring wide open after doing a stint in the jail system." Sawyer answers his question, though there's a flash of emotional pain right behind those big brown peepers of hers, of which she doesn't expound on. Hell, that story should have been the big break of her career, but somehow it landed her on shit duty covering military funding. That seems like years ago, instead of mere months. "Where are you going with this, Major?"

"That's some dedication. A lot of people wouldn't do that. But sometimes you have to do what's necessary to get the job done." Tillman sips at his coffee and settles the mug back down as he leans forward. "I'll read you in on the investigation. I'll give you unrestricted access to our after action reports - under the table of course. But?" He holds up a finger. "One condition. What you publish to the crew and fleet? Your sources don't come from these reports. Ever. Hint and dig all you want, but I don't want this coming back. Abbot would have both of us in a sling and staring out an airlock in the last few moments of our lives. But in return?" Clive tilts his head a bit. "I want you to use what you learn to help me figure this shit out. You're smarter than I am." His lips twitch at a smile. "Sound like a deal?"

Sawyer narrows her eyes at Tillman as he talks, as if she's trying to ferret out what's /not/ being said in this conversation. If she seems to think he has any hidden motives, it's not entirely dissuading her from agreement. "Complete unrestricted access?" She questions, one blonde eyebrow creeping up on her forehead until it forms a little comma on her forehead.

"Everything to last night. Including the investigation into the woman arrested during the engineering issues as we were leaving drydock. You'll get the full story on all of it. But you can't publish on it. And.." Tillman meets her eyes. "I don't want you to do anything with the information that you wouldn't want me to know about. Like cheating - you're doing it if you wouldn't want your spouse to know about it. If you abuse this trust, it will not be pleasant. I'll revoke your privileges with the pilot berthings and all access to non-recreation parts of this ship." The Obs Deck and News Room would be excluded from access apparently. He lets that hang in the air between them. "But I will give you everything we have up until last night in exchange for your help figuring in this out. Think you're willing to accept those terms?"

Sawyer eases back into her chair, one leg coming up to cross the other. Her hemline is long, and her skirt remains modest in the transition, her hands folding over the steeple of one thigh. "So you're giving me old news. Which I can't use. And you're making a huge leap in assuming I have scruples that hinge on creature comforts. And in exchange, you want me to help you on piece together a puzzle which - in effect - you just told me I might not get all the pieces to. That about right, Clive?"

"You can look at it however you like. I know the attraction of the mystery to some of this stuff, though. It goes a lot deeper than you think. All of it does." He lifts the ug once more but he doesn't sip at it. "Creature comforts are a precious commodity aboard a battlestar. I think you're smart enough to know that and realize what kind of latitude you've been granted aboard this ship. And? I think you're smart enough to know that I'm not patronizing you or trying to bullshit you into helping me for something that wouldn't interest you. You and I both know that I wouldn't offer it if I thought it was frivolous." He leans forward then, waiting.

"Well, you just said I was smarter than you moments before, so I suppose all those assumptions would be correct. I know which side of my bread the butter is on, but I also know when it's prudent to go on a diet…" Sawyer looks at him for a long, hard moment where she's no doubt churning everything over in her mind. "I'll help. If only because I would have without all the bribery - which I'm holding you to. This entire thing rings of a good mystery novel, and I'm desperately short of reading material."

Tillman smiles at the end and nods. "Thank you, Sawyer." He reaches into his desk and has to use both hands to stack everything out into a pile. "Everything. I make no apologies for my actions that you may read about in here. Including my orders about the shoot-down of Admiral Kulle's yacht on Warday. As well?" He slides one particular folder out that's zippered shut. "This is the file on the investigation into Miss Tuata and her actions in engineering. You'll also see the videotaped interview performed by Lieutenant Stavrian and Captain Karthasi where she dies. It will scare the hell out of you, what you find out about her. There's a reason we keep it buried." That look is long and unwavering. "As for everything else? You have conversation transcripts that have been passed along. Full report logs. Copies of radio communications. Watch log reports. I still have problems trying to wrap my head around all of it. Ready to tumble down the rabbit hole with me?" Alice in Wonderland can exist in BSG, right? Sure.

Sawyer reaches out to lay her hands on the stack, her voice pitched low. "Clive. If I hadn't sworn off men entirely, I'd say you just gave me a newsgasm." She replies with a wicked grin that shows entirely too much of her rather pronounced canines. Looks like she won't be short on any reading material any time soon. He just gave her weeks of it, and that's if she pounds the coffee and pulls longer days. All this, of course, will have to wait until /after/ the mission. Should she come back at all.

"Such a shame." Tillman smirks and motions to the stack. "You can go ahead and read, I just can't let it out of this office. Its too much information. I'll make a copy of the office key and you can use this area for reading. Just keep it under the table, okay? I'm here a few hours of the day and you can feel free to ask me questions or clarify things. I'll dig up any memos I can find, too. From today forward, I will forward you information after I vet it. I'll be keeping my reports elsewhere after this as I'm probably about to move into the XO's quarters."

Sawyer can't help herself, the temptation is too much. She fingers open one of the folders and gives it a quick skim, but alas, she can't devote the time to it that she'd like. Impending DOOM and all. "We're both in the fire now, my friend." She mutters quietly, then pulls back from her reading and nudges it back in his direction to secure away. He'll give her a key. That's freedom to come back when she chooses. "Have fun with the civilians while I'm gone. And…if I don't come back? Santiago Blue gets my wardrobe." She tries to smile, but can't quite manage it to look mirthful.

"Our fates are intertwined on a lot of levels. Just make sure you come home safe, okay? I'll instruct Lieutenant Kulko to handle your security. Just remember to get that body armor. I, ah.. need toget back to this report, though." The man's voice is quiet and personal. There is genuine worry for her in those eyes. "Best of luck and may the Gods keep you safe, Sawyer."

Sawyer slides her portfolio off the desk, tucking it beneath an arm when she rises. Overall, it looks like she's toting a rather fashionable clutch purse, dressed as she is. "I've got four months of dirty little secrets to wade through. The Gods try and stop me from coming back." Maaaaaaaaaaybe she shouldn't tempt fate quite so much, so as a little humbling gesture, she reaches out and taps twice on the first bit of wood she can see. "Have a good evening, /Major/ Clive."

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