PHD #410: Better Late Than Never?
Better Late Than Never?
Summary: Somewhat belatedly, the CO of the Areion Marines comes to chat with Madilyn about the detainments and Gun testing.
Date: 12 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: Cost of Business, others to be added later
Madilyn Benoit 
Security Hub
More than just an office for the Marines and their XO, this room has remote surveillance views of the Brigs as well as a state of the art communications center built into the far bulkhead. A locked and heavily armored door to the aft leads into another room, the white lettering on it reading 'ARMORY.' There are a few desks scattered around the room for getting necessary paperwork done and the Commandant's picture hangs on the wall next to one of the President.
Post-Holocaust Day: #410

Word was sent ahead that the CO of the detatchment of Marines aboard Areion was seeking a meeting with the CO of the contingent aboard Cerberus, and this time chosen for that meeting. Even had arrangements not been made in advance, it would be difficult to miss Benoit's entrance, or to ignore it as something routine; this is not a man one easily confuses with others, even if it is only because of his height. At 6'5" and broad-shouldered, he cuts an imposing figure, even in off-duty brown fatigues. The pins on his collar marking him a lieutenant colonel are just icing on the cake.

He arrives without fanfare or escort, even without sidearm. Into the security hub he steps, smiling politely at those he passes and stepping up to a young marine who appears to be some sort of aide, or at least low-enough ranked that he can easily stand in for one. "I'm looking for Major Willows-Cavanagh, please," Benoit informs him, voice deep and carrying even when not very loud.

For her part, Madilyn hasn't gone out of the way to make her presence as…ostentatious as Benoit. Duty fatigues, a put-together appearance after the unkempt past few days, and of course, every hair pulled back and in place, she's leaning over one of the camera screens. The young aide is quick to point in the general direction, but with a few marines around, one might easily mistake Madilyn for one of the others gathered about. "There she is, sir," the aide rapidly adds, clearing up any potential confusion.

"Thank you," Benoit replies to the young marine. He waits a moment, perhaps attempting to ascertain whether the business in which Madilyn is currently engaged ought to be interrupted, perhaps just looking at her ass. It would be difficult to say. "Excuse me," he says eventually, stepping closer to address her directly, "Major Willows-Cavanagh?"

When greeted, she turns from the screen and stands straight, the height of the man - even larger than one of the marines who was wrapped up in this whole crazy turn of events - causing her to make sure she's as tall as can be, almost 6'. It's work in the past, here and there, if people are expecting a slip of a woman. "Colonel Benoit, sir," Madilyn replies. The pleasantry in her voice, what little there is, is forced.

"Major," Benoit replies, not repeating Madilyn's full name for the third time, at least. "Lieutenant Colonel Bartholomew Benoit. It is a pleasure to meet you, though I wish it were under more friendly circumstances." He smiles, "Which is not a reproach, of course. I understand your hostility, it is well-justified. I believe I owe you an apology. Perhaps several."

"An explanation, frankly, would do me a whole hell of a lot more good," Madilyn replies without hesitation. Cutting straight to the chase today. The man isn't especially familiar to her, not like some of the other officers stationed throughout the fleet might have been, so gauging personality will be critical to working together in the future. Likewise, she's certain he's doing the same.

"Fair enough," Benoit replies, not in the least flustered by Madilyn's directness, nor by her request. "I would be happy to offer whatever explanations I can. Shall we sit?" He gestures to a currently unoccupied desk and chair, and suggests, "Perhaps, as you know what you know and what you do not more than I do, you could be more specific as to what I ought to explain?"

Madilyn nods to the idea of sitting, but is sure to take up a seat behind the desk, rather than in the chairs set out on the other side. "Well, Colonel, my most immediate concerns are why your marines are on Cerberus, taking my marines and civilians back to Areion. If this is all on the up-and-up, and is as safe as your doctors claim, why the secrecy?"

The Lt Colonel smiles as Madilyn takes the seat behind the desk, not objecting to taking up one of those in front of it. He folds his tall frame into the chair and sits somewhat sideways, so that he might lean his side against the desk and set an elbow on its surface. "I was remiss in not approaching you with this directly," he begins, "But Command informed me that they would handle this matter themselves. I believe Colonel Riederer spoke with your Executive Officer, Captain Mathers, and explained that we would be beginning testing of suspected cylon agents and asked that they provide a list of suspects. Naturally we had compiled a list of our own, as well. Command gave the okay to begin arrests, and we did so, assuming that you had been informed. It was only after the fact that I learned that this was not the case. I'm sure you understand," he gestures with one hand, the type, it seems, to talk with his hands, "That as much as it grates to have our business interfered with by those better suited to sitting behind desks, as marines, our role is to obey orders. My people and I did so. That we stepped on the toes of you and yours pains me, and I do apologize for that. I hope that moving forward we can work more closely together, and prevent this sort of thing happening again."

"Prevention is key, I've often heard said. That being said, I'm to understand that you've 'arrested' and tested your own in similar circumstances?" A pause, purposefully. "In the interests of moving forward, you understand." Rather than talk with her hands, Madilyn lies them on the desk's surface, free of notepads or pens, lacing the fingers together to keep from fidgeting.

"That is correct," Benoit replies to Madilyn with a nod, "Testing has been conducted on members of the Areion's crew, and we can now rule out the possibility that the humanoid Cylon infiltrators in the fleet are aboard our ship."

"I don't suppose you would object to providing us with a list of the suspected infiltrators aboard Areion, just as you were provided a list of suspected infiltrators aboard Cerberus? I'm also forced to ask what your intentions are regarding the civilians of the fleet. They've hardly responded well to continual military presence on Elpis, tolerating it at best. If civilian arrests are made there," as they are here she thinks but doesn't say out loud, "we're going to have a significant security issue to deal with."

"There are no suspected infiltrators aboard Areion," Benoit informs Madilyn, "We idenfitied one Cylon agent, posing as a Lieutenant Fields. I believe the file on her was provided to you, if not, I will have a copy sent over as soon as I return. Other personnel were cleared after comprehensive testing by our technicians. And to be clear, I have not to date been provided with any list of suspected Cylons aboard Cerberus by your office. Our Intelligence departments produced their own. If you would like to see a copy of it, I will see if one can be provided. I believe Command would prefer to keep it classified, but," he smiles, friendly, "I think at this juncture it would be better to show a little trust, don't you? I'll make a note to have it sent over."

"As for civilians," Benoit continues, "There are several we would consider suspects, by our priority targets are all military personnel. We believe them to be the most likely, given the nature of the information that is being leaked, and also it seems as though the situation might be more smoothly handled if we were able to demonstrate to civilians that we were not subjecting them to any conditions we were not wiling to undergo ourselves, but only testing them as a last resort to ensure the safety of the human race."

Madilyn just nods at his words, letting the friendly exchange play out. The neutral expression she has on her face - forced, natural, whatever - marks only interest and understanding. When he smiles, she smiles back just a little, nodding. "I agree with you on the civilian matter. Those people on Elpis have demonstrated to some degree in the past that they'd prefer as little direct interaction with military personnel as possible." The details there remain unsaid in this meeting. "As to the matter of trust…" she starts, but purses her lips and can't finish. Not without getting tangled up in intentions and suspicions.

"They have most definitely," Benoit agrees, nodding along with Madilyn as she speaks of the Elpis, "And while personal preferences cannot be allowed to supersede the survival of the human race, it is naturally in our interests to appease them as long as we can." When she trails off, he smiles again, the expression both friendly and sympathetic. "As to the matter of trust," he echoes, "I can understand that we have done little to deserve it thus far. For what it is worth, major, I am sorry that this business was carried off the way it was. Had it been entirely up to me, we should have done things in a much less contentious manner. I hope that you and I can see a way forward in this business, in a more civilized fashion."

"I concur, colonel. I do agree that trust is essential, and that it might be the only thing keeping us from being destroyed by the Cylons. We cannot, however, subject ourselves to a witchhunt that may result in that same outcome." Here, she pauses and rubs her temples. "The same thing happened with the trial of our former admiral, and while we had evidence, while we had a trial offering a chance to provide a defense, this ship still drew lines and took sides. Innocent people died. My job here is to make sure that doesn't happen again."

"I think that casting these measures as a 'witchunt' is a mistake," Benoit offers, tone conversational, thoughtful, "And it is this sort of terminology we should be careful to avoid, going forward. Our aim is not to create panic, nor to force people to take sides. We should all be aligned together in this effort against the Cylons. Our goal is not to arrest and torture innocents, as some are sensationally claiming, what we are attempting to do is to to find exactly who the abominations among this crew are, so that the matter can be put to rest once and for all, and we can all get back to work. It is a failure of communication, on our part," he touches his chest in concession, "That led to this, I believe. We've been too long on our own."

"But think of it," he goes on, "We have the ability now, the technology, to distinguish between human and Cylon. The problems that you've had, amongst your crew and the civilians, accusations being thrown around, people abused as suspected skinjobs — we can end that. The distrust, the uncertainty, never knowing if you're giving information to someone who is passing it on to the enemy — we can end that. We can free this fleet not only of enemy agents, but of the fear of them, that insidious, crippling fear of not being able to tell who the enemy is by their shiny chrome heads anymore. We can end all of that, now. That is what we are trying to do and what, working together, we can do now. We just need to do it better."

"Yes, better. More communication is definitely essential. What matters that can be dealt with by Cerberus marines aboard Cerberus, I must insist be left to us…in the future." Madilyn responds to Benoit's statement with measured patience, listening, understanding. "While we can and should test for humanoid Cylons, we should not have to resort to arresting them in secret. I think, if you want to avoid untoward responses to your testing in the future, you should subject all crew, not just isolated suspects." Another pause. "Particularly if the criteria for suspicion are not made entirely clear."

"Agreed," Benoit replies, with a smile, "More communication is absolutely essential, especially between us," he gestures from himself to her and back. He listens as Madilyn goes on, nodding along in acknowledgment of her points. "If your marines will agree to facilitate the transport of crewmembers to and from Areion for testing, then certainly, we would prefer that it be taken care of in that fashion," he nods. At the last, he considers. After a moment, he speaks, explaining, "Obviously our preference is to test every member of the crew, ultimately. That is what was done aboard Areion, and it is the only way to ensure absolute certainty in the results. If Cerberus will agree to this, then we will gladly see the tests done. However," he goes on, "I think in the interests of security, we have to admit that there are some persons who are more likely suspects than others. Those who have access to compromised systems, or who have behaved in ways deemed suspicious by security forces. It makes sense," he goes on, "To see the testing of these persons done first, so that if we may decrease the amount of time it takes to root out the Cylon infiltrators and make the fleet safe again, we can."

"Well, we're not in disagreement on those matters. That's the critical thing, at the moment. My concerns were that the internal security of this vessel were being compromised by others, with or without reason, Colonial or Cylon." She sits up as straight as possible in the chair now, and lays both hands, palms down on the desktop. "With a list of suscpects provided, I'll have the marines here act on the information. Part of the 'shock' is in unknown marine forces boarding this vessel and taking our crewman without having the situation properly explained…en route, I should specify. Before they're being blasted by the Gun's radiation. I promise you, with better communication, the matters of internal security aboard Cerberus will not have to be a concern of yours any longer."

"I'm relieved to hear it," Benoit replies of their lack of disagreement, his smile warming further still. He nods as Madilyn goes on, but lets her finish before replying, "I completely understand, Major, and you again have my apology for the way things were carried out. I regret that that was the impression created by our actions, and will do my best to make sure it does not happen again." He nods once more, agreeing, "I am sure of it. I will see that a list of personnel we would like to test first is submitted to you promptly. Naturally it will be a somewhat sensitive document, but I am sure you do not need to be asked to use discretion in deciding who you share it with. I will leave that to you. Is there anything else I can provide," he inquires, brows raised, expression open, "In the way of explanation or answer, while I am here?"

"At the moment, all present concerns have been addressed. So long as we remain on the same page regarding the roles of each individual company of marines in the internal security matters of the other vessels in this fleet, I hope that no similar concerns will arise. When provided with a list of suspects, we'll continue the mission to root out Cylon elements in this fleet, and on this ship specifically." Madilyn's reply is surprisingly chilly given the man's openness in the matter. "Beyond that…no. I have no additional concerns." Not until she reads debriefings first-hand, however, and some of those coming after folks recover a bit.

"Very well," Benoit replies with a nod as Madilyn says that her present concerns have been addressed. He rises, and replies, "A list of suspects will be sent over, and if you could reply with a proposed schedule for the detainment and testing of the individuals on it, we can coordinate their transport." If he notices her chilly demeneaor, he neither comments on it nor returns it, remaining as pleasantly friendly as he has been since he arrived. "I'm pleased we had this opportunity to talk, major," he says, "I look forward to working with your more closely from here on out. Have a good evening, and I'll be in touch." He smiles, and turns from the desk, heading out of the Sec Hub.

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