PHD #163: Blinders Off
Blinders Off
Summary: The CAG and the reporter talk of dogs and missions and what to do in the Post-Apocalypse when you're 40.
Date: 08 Aug 2041 AE
Related Logs: None directly
Sawyer Cidra 
Observation Deck - Deck 3 - Battlestar Cerberus
With a quiet view to the stars, this tends to be one of the more popular 'quiet areas' of the Cerberus. Up front is a small-unseated area for ceremonies or other activities while the seating rises up behind it. Each level rises up behind the one before it, comfortable chairs and couches set up for crewmembers to relax, get some work done or even take a nap. A large armored plate is lowered during Condition One to protect the interior against a breach in the glass.
Post-Holocaust Day: #163

The Obs Deck is quiet, as it should be. There's a couple snuggling in the back row, a private sacked out in one of the chairs, and then there's Sawyer sitting down at the front nearest to the viewport, looking out at the expanse of stars but her eyes have that far away look to them. In her lap is an open book, her hand laying on the pages to make her spot as she's let her mind wander and fallen to distraction instead of reading as she had meant to do.

Cidra drifts in. In her off-duties, and she has the general manner of one who's been off for a few hours now. Not that she seems to be out for an idle stroll. There is a purposeful way she carries herself as she scans those taking their liberty on the deck. Searching. And, as her blue eyes lock on Sawyer, apparently finding what she's looking for. She drifts in that direction. "How does the day find you, Miss Averies?"

It seems to take a moment for Sawyer to even register that someone is addressing her, even with the direct use of her name. Finally, she drags her gaze off the spacescape and tilts her head up to look at Cidra with momentary lack of recognition. There's a flick of hair out of her eyes, and in that spanse of time, Sawyer seems to snap herself back into the here and now. "Much as any other day." But there's no further clarification as if that is good or bad. "How are you, Major?"

"So say we all," Cidra murmurs ruefully. Head tilting to a chair next to Sawyer. "I am…well. Much as any other day. Do you mind if I sit a moment?" There's still that air of vague purpose about her, but it's tentative as well. Almost hesitant. Odd. Hesitation is one of those things the CAG rarely allows herself to show.

One of Sawyer's hands lifts and dips to the side, "Of course I don't." The seat offered, and obviously having judged the CAG's mannerisms that something specific is about to be broached, Sawyer snicks her book closed - some legal volume - and tucks it against her hip and the little love seat she occupies. "Is there something I can do for you?" The cobwebs of silent reverie are shaken off, and even though Sawyer hasn't produced much in the way of work lately, she easily falls back into that pattern.

Cidra sinks down into her offered seat. The first thing she does is take her boots off. Scooting them under her chair, tucking her long legs under her. "Thank you." She plucks a cigarette and lighter out of her pockets, firing up. It's a moment before she says anything more. The motions of getting her smoke on keep her busy. And, when she does speak again, she doesn't answer Sawyer's question. "Today is the…eighth, yes? The date, I mean."

Sawyer watches Cidra sparking up a cigarette with some interest, though doesn't ask to bum one for herself nor light one from her own stores. Maybe the journalist is trying to quit herself. "Um. Good question." Sawyer's eyes roll to the ceiling as if searching it for the answer, or at least, scraping through her short term memory for it. "Yes, I believe that's right. One hundred and sixty odd days Post-Holocaust." Such a macabre way of keeping time.

"It will be my birthday in three days," Cidra says. Out of the blue. Not looking at Sawyer, eyes focused on the viewport, fingers lifting her cig to her lips. A drag is taken before she goes on. "The eleventh. Eleven…" It is noted dryly. "I will be thirty-nine years old. Forty in a year. If any of us see next year." Blue eyes flick over at Sawyer then. "Where did you think you would be at forty, Sawyer Averies?"

There's a soft laugh from Sawyer, not an unkind thing, just some dry sort of amusement. "My birthday was a few days following the debacle at Picon Anchorage." It's said in that 'I feel your pain' sort of tone. "For what it's worth, happy birthday, Cidra. A bit early, but hey." She rubs her thumb along the side of her nose, a gesture she's picked up from someone somewhere along the line, as if knowing they are treading on a very delicate subject, and it manifests in that ackward gesticulation. "At forty? I'm not sure. Married. Children. Hung up my pen at the magazine to write newsletters for the PTO. I'm not sure."

"You are the only one I plan to tell, and it is off the record," Cidra says to Sawyer in that same dry sort of way. "It may be the only one I get, so I will thank you for it." She nods a little as the reporter talks of what future plans she had. "Yes. Retired. Children. House on the lakes on Picon. Dog I could barely stand. I would tolerate the creature, though, because the man in that house with me loved his gods-damned dogs…" Eyes go away from the reporter again. "…and then, in an instant, all of that is gone. I have not had such thoughts in nearly a decade now. That was all right, though. I thought the Navy would be my life. And duty can fill you up, Miss Averies. It keeps you focused, keeps you moving. And I *thought* I was part of something great enough, something with enough purpose, to fill up those other places so it would not matter so much what I did not have…" Thought. Past tense.

Sawyer nudges off her shoe with the toe of the other, then uses her bare foot to rub at her opposing calve and assuage an itch. "That's truly a shame, if anything, it would give your airwing something to celebrate. Some common un-work related goal, like embarrasing the frak out of you with cake and handmade presents. I think you should reconsider." There's a shift in Sawyer's form, as she pushes herself more upright. "Now you're finding the Navy to no longer be as fulfilling? Life is different, Major, when you're given options and you can choose. When those options are taken away often times, that's all you can think about: the babies, the house, the intolerable dog—even if you never wanted them originally."

Cidra sniffs, shaking her head. "I do not want to make them feel obligated. I think I make many of them uncomfortable, really." She shrugs. "It is simpler that way. You keep a professional distance and some of the things you have to do…well. They do not become any easier, so much, but least you do not have to live with having done them to a friend…" She shrugs. "I did want it, though. At least, I wanted it with him." She sighs. "He was gone, though, and I did not feel like any of it would matter with someone else. You have the right of it, though. I would not have wanted the house on the lake with another, but the Navy perhaps was not so fulfilling as I needed it to be, either."

Sawyer twists in her seat, drawing one leg up in the seat with her at a crooked angle, turning so she can study Cidra more fully. "I think, in this day and age, it's better to have a friend and lose them then never to have befriended them at all." Sawyer's forehead bunches up, a knit between her brows. "You know, that was entirely cheesy. Forget I said it. But the point of the matter is, when we're all we have left? The lines of professionalism are going to get blurred, /need/ to get blurred. For what it's worth, though. I'm sorry for your loss. You'll find nothing quite fills that void as you'd wish it would. So. If you're unhappy in your chosen career, I can offer you a position in the exciting field of being a journalistic lapdog to the same Man you're trying to damn."

"Perhaps…" Cidra says, considering the bit about friendship, again, eyes locked on the viewport. Smoking in silence for a time. Though the last makes her laugh, soft, and turn back to Sawyer. "I am a poor writer. But I will consider it. What are the benefits like? Does one get paid vacation time?"

Sawyer cracks a hint of a smile, spurred perhaps by the CAG's own laughter. "Oh, it's great. You'll have all the finest ammenities that the military can provide, only with none of the certainty. Take for example should you piss of the XO? That's the first thing he threatens you with: shipping you off to the cargo bay with the rest of the civilian chattle." She quietly clears her throat. "Sorry, that was a little bitterness creeping up there. So what's got you down, Hahn?"

Cidra answers Sawyer's question with a question. "That article you wrote. About Leonis." The CAG has never spoken to Sawyer of this before. Indeed, though she's always polite, there is the general impression that she avoids the reporter. "Do you really think that is true? That we were the instruments of our destruction?"

Sawyer makes a slight shrugging motion, looking down to her hands where fingers start to twine within one another in an endless knot. "First of all, I wrote that when I was angry and as a collegue pointed out, it wasn't in the best judgement. Do I take it back? Not it the slightest. I stand behind it, but it really was a catch twenty-two. While we were creating this 'weapon', they crossed the armastice line to find out about it, which in and of itself is a damn good reason for us have been creating it in the first place. In short, each side was contemplating genocide, they just beat us to the punch."

Cidra nods, holding her cigarette between her fingertips, watching the smoke curl up from it. "Since Parnassus I have asked myself…I flew Raptors, Miss Averies. For more than fifteen years I have flown Raptors for the Colonial Navy. And I loved it. I *love* it still so much. Search and rescue. Fight and fly. Sometimes you have to do very unpleasant things but…it is simple. You shield your people, you find your objective, you protect your ship. I told myself I was the great owl of the Fleet in those planes, that I served Athena, my goddess, better there than I ever could have in the priesthood…that I was doing something worthwhile. I truly believed this. After Parnassus, after Leonis…" She stops, as if she's afraid to say all this aloud. But the pause only lasts a second. "…there were parts of the military that I did not really deal with. Intelligence. They were…outside my purview. Perhaps I was naive, perhaps I just…did not allow myself to think about them. I wonder now, how much I self-righteously blinded myself to? How many of our own laws we broke as if they had no meaning, in pursuit of something that would kill us…?"

"I'd like to believe, of course, that those precise people are the ones that were the first to go. It's a novel pipe dream, I suppose, but one that keeps me warm at night. The truth of the matter is, there are still those that exist with views so skewed that they could damn what few of us are left, with their choices. So now's the time to take the blinders off, Major, if only so we can see and possibly prevent another atrocity. Take for example, Michael Abbot's trial. A man so many rallied behind, and now where are they all? Does he even have any supporters, or have they condemned him all because it was the easier thing to do?" Sawyer reaches out, nonchalantly brushing a flake of ash from the CAG's knee.

"Naivety does not become one who is pushing hard at forty," Cidra agrees. Gaze flits down as Sawyer brushes that ash from her knee, a soft "Thank you" muttered. "Rear Admiral Abbot is a quandry I cannot line up right in my mind. Yes, I followed him. He was my commander. But when I heard what he might be, I allowed him to be removed from command. I did not hold a gun to him myself but I am no cleaner than those who did. I did not know him well. He kept his distance from his people…" She trails off, barest hint of a smirk coming to her lips. A shrug. "You likely spent more time with him personally than I. Do you think him one of the abominations, Averies?"

"Honestly? I don't know what to think, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. When I saw that number Eleven being treated better than a man who has yet to even be /convicted/ of anything? Well, you can imagine my outrage. I've actually spent a great deal of time, recently, with Abbot. But we only spoke of his guilt or innocence on my initial visit." Sawyer pulls the inside of her cheek between her teeth, worrying that flesh with a slow grind.

Cidra tilts her head at Sawyer, now regarding the younger woman with more intensity. "What is he to you? Michael Abbot?" There's not particular accusation in her question. Curiosity, yes, and a certain amount of tentative empathy.

Sawyer takes a long breath, letting it out in a long drawn out sigh. "Hard to say? I'd say cautiously, at best, a friend." There's something more, of course, in the reporter's eyes, but she seems guarded about those particular feelings even to herself. "The very least, he's an interesting soul that once upon a time gave a news hungry girl stuck on a military ship a break." There's a quirk of a smile, that quickly starts to fade.

"A friend? Ah." Whether Cidra believes that's the entirety of it or not is an open question. But she leaves it at that 'Ah.' "Well. You were right before. That is no small thing these days." She takes another drag. "I wonder what is left when you take your blinders off, though. After the attacks, even with everything gone, I still had my duty. I still felt like I had a purpose. These days…sometimes, Averies, I do not know anymore…"

Sawyer studies Cidra's face for a long moment, as if trying to decide which road to tread down, perhaps. "You still have a purpose, Cidra, even if it has changed. Now, at the very least, your job is to keep those men and women alive as long as possible. Even if it is a losing battle, the majority of the time. In your spare time, you can keep an eye on decisions command is making, and put in your two sense. Like when I shang hai'd you regarding the Draft. Not the most honest approach, perhaps, but then again, you got your own fun out of that ride didn't you?"

"I had fun," Cidra admits with the barest hint of a smile. Though her mood remains serious. "I have been thinking since Leonis…there were still people there. That cannot be an anomaly. We cannot tell ourselves that the bombs and the radiation have destroyed everyone. Colonel Pewter has requested renewed reconnaissance to some of the outlying colonies. To see if the Cylons have reacted to our recent engagements by changing the structure of their forces. It is my intention to also task the Raptors going back there to look evidence of survivors. Or at least pockets where we *might* find them, should we be moved to look."

Sawyer makes a pass of her lips with her tongue, wetting their dried surface. "That's what I've been saying all along. I know some Colonies were worse hit than Leonis, but others…? There's still a chance. I'm glad someone is taking some initiative on this. If I had the means, I'd be out there myself, searching and scouring for pockets of humanity."

"If you would like to go along on the recons, I am quite amenable to that," Cidra says. "In fact, I invite you to. See what my people see. You understand, of course, that the positioning of Cylon forces must be kept classified. The rest…I would like to have eyes on it that are not so beholden to Navy duty as I. If there are people down there and we can find them…this ship, I do think, has a right to know sooner rather than later." She leaves it at that.

Sawyer allows a full smile to bloom on her lips. "I'd like that very much. Not sure how well received I'll be by your crew, of course, but I'd be happy to ride along. I know my opinions aren't the most popular, at the moment. The toll of being a voice of reason, sometimes, is that that voice doesn't necessarily always want to be heard. Regardless. Yes. I'd like that. When is the next mission slated?"

"I am not sure there is such a thing as the 'voice of reason,'" Cidra says with another of those oh-so-faint smirks. "But you can speak your own mind to a degree, at least, and look at things in a different way. That is valuable now, I do think." She stands at that. "Plans are still being finalized. We are trying to mitigate the danger to our Raptors. Lower chances they might be detected. But no later than this Friday hence."

Sawyer gives a quick clip of a nod. "I'll be ready then. I even still have all the fancy gear the marines lent me last time. Save me a front row seat, yeah?" Sawyer collects her book, drawing it back into her lap to wrap her hands over the cover. "If I don't see you before then, have a happy birthday, Cidra." And with that, the reporter is rising.

"A front row seat is reserved for the pilot. But we shall manage to stick you somewhere," Cidra says. "And…thank you." With that, she turns and strolls away from Sawyer, taking her leave of the deck.

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