PHD #331: Can't Outrun the Fates
Can't Outrun the Fates
Summary: Sooner or later, Fate catches up to you. Case in point: Trask gets promoted and Quinn goes into labor.
Date: 23 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: You Can't Always Get What You Want (Promotion, take one), Pressure Points - Air Wing (the Kepner incident), & Debriefed (the Kepner incident revisited)
Cidra Quinn Trask 
CAG's Office - Deck 10 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #331
Though it's not much bigger than the average ship supply closet, the office of the commander of Cerberus' air group has as much luxury as one can hope for aboard a battlestar: privacy. It is dominated by a blocky gray metal desk straight out of standard Navy supply with an equally standard-issue rolling chair behind it. A few other chairs are shoved against one wall, for those who drop by for whatever business they have with the CAG. The surface of the desk is covered by a computer and stacks of files and octagonal papers covering whatever bit of aerial bureaucracy she's mussing with that day. A few heavy books on air mechanics - mostly devoted to Raptors - occupy the shelves.

The room is largely devoid of decoration, save one item hanging on a hook on the shelf direct above her desk: a set of prayer beads, well-worn olive wood and strung with a single, crudely-carved owl charm.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

It's long past time certain things were settled with the Fighting Fourteenth's Raptors, and today is the day to do that. Cidra's called both Trask and Quinn to her office, since the two have already all but gotten this done, to make it official. She awaits them now, hatch slightly ajar. Not smoking, a rarity, perhaps out of deference that she'll soon have a pregnant woman in her vicinity. The place has gone through some changes since the fires that swept Deck 10 when the ship was damaged over Tauron. Most of the books and other paper odds and ends that covered the walls and shelves are gone now, as is the wooden owl that once served as a bookend. And her nice, cushy chair has been replaced by a more standard one, scrounged from some supply closet somewhere.

Marching as he is to the proverbial gallows pole that is about to hang what small illusion of freedom he had still retained, Trask does so with his usual aplomb and thumb-nosing at the cosmos that he generally employs when the universe is keen to grind him down. With a lifetime of refusing to shrug, as though he were Atlas, escorting the waddling Quinn is like nothing. Opening the hatch, he graciously intones, "Ladies first." Following suit, he closes the cell door behind them and snaps off a dapper salute at odds with his duty greens. "Major." Perhaps the man is capable of some gravitas and respect. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Quinn hasn't really slept well at all the past two nights. Possibly she's felt the weight of her career hanging rather too heavily across her shoulders or, more so, the permanent demotion her career was going to take for her family. Possibly it was something else. Sweet Pea helped for a while, but everyone still has shifts, so Maggie's now on her own and completely exhausted. Heavy bags weigh under her eyes and her skin looks just a touch sallow in that lack of rest. She steps in with Trask, having willingly accepted his offer of assistance up to the office, even though she really is still quite mobile herself. She's in sweats, of course, the only thing that fits any more. "Thanks…" She murmurs to him as she waddles into the room first and up to Cidra's desk, "Sir."

Cidra stands, acknowledging the salutes she receives and adding an "As you were" so they can all settle. Back into her chair she sinks. "All right, then. I shall not belabor this. It is far past time. We all hoped this would turn differently, perhaps, but such is life. And one cannot ignore the demands it brings upon us. Jugs tells me you have spoken, Boots. It is time, I think, that we gave up the fiction of this 'interim' business."

It won't be long, and yet Cidra sits right back down. "You wanna also forego the lecture about how and why I'm far from ideal?" Like, say, the Kepner incident that the CAG has yet to get around to 'discussing' with the impertinent officer, as she had so threatened. Either way, he draws out a chair for Quinn and moves to help her sit, if she so desires. For the nonce, he remains standing.

Quinn steps the rest of the way to the desk, and despite the discomfort of sitting, she doesn't protest the chair. She swings around to it's front and lowers herself down into it ungracefully, but she makes it. She nods mutely towards Cidra's words, doing her very best not to let emotion trickle across her face. She knows very well this is best for everyone. "Yes, sir." She finally murmurs, forcing herself to sit back straight and shoulders squared.

"We can discuss that privately when we are finished, Boots," Cidra replies to Trask. "As for the rest. We do the best we can with the pieces we have. You drive me to madness at times, Lieutenant Kal Trask. You are insubordinate, rude, disrespectful to your fellow officers. But you also care deeply about you work, this ship, and those you fly with, and you are a skilled hand at your job. I am less than ideal, myself. But I do my duty, and so do you, and when we manage to put the rest aside we do it surpassing well." There's the barest hint of a smile after that. Irritating as she finds Trask a good portion of the time, she never lacks respect for him. And she doesn't at all dislike him. All that said, she turns to Quinn. "I know this was not easy for you, Jugs. I shall be glad to have you back as a pilot, at least, and among the Harriers as a guiding hand, even if you do not command them in name."

"Not… all the time," doth the man quasi-protest. "Just… most." At which point he flashes a small smile. The rest can wait. Affectionately, he rests his left hand on Quinn's shoulder and gently squeezes. "As soon as your ass is small enough to fit in that seat," the pilot's seat, that is, "I expect it to be there."

Quinn is tense as stone beneath Trask's hand, trying to keep her breathing even and calm in the seat before Cidra but it's most certainly harder than it was a few seconds ago. Those uncomfortable cramps that have kept her awake for the last two nights? They're getting worse. Far worse now. She still sits straight, her eyes slightly flickering in pain as she keeps her teeth and lips tightly gritted together against the pain she's trying to hide. She simply nods in agreement, not trusting herself to speak.

"There are a few particulars we shall need to settle before Captain Quinn returns to duty, just to make matters simpler. In terms of rank, I mean specifically," Cidra says. "I shall not be calling you lieutenant anymore, Bootstrap." And into her desk she goes, to retrieve a set of captain's pins. "We may as well do this now. I hereby, effective immediately, do promote you Kal Trask to the rank of Captain. This will change nothing in your duties, of course. The removal of 'interim' from your title shall not either, really. But, it is right and proper. And, in spite of your many insufferable qualities, you have earned it."

"Sooner or later, the Fates catch up with ya," he murmurs, somewhere between wry and pensive. What is meant by that is not elaborated upon. "Well," Kal continues, lightly clearing his throat, "can't say that I didn't try. Good thing I have strong shoulders and a limber neck." Those Captain pins carry even more weight. There he stands, waiting for Cidra to do the deed.

The sight of the Captain's pins actually too make Maggie smile. She breathes in through her nose, ignoring the pain, and watches the solemn, quiet, too brief ceremony beginning. "It is a long… long time deserved, Kal." She whispers, not as his SL or even pilot, just as is friend. Proud and warm, a touch of glassiness to her eyes.

Cidra stands up, beckoning Trask to do the same. "More brass comes with more expectations, Trask. Which we shall discuss momentarily." Ominous CAG. Not that she hesitates. The pins, however, are handed to Quinn. "Jugs, would you do the honors for me, please?"

Bootstrap was already on his boots. So, what he instead does is kneel next to Quinn to make the pinning as painless as possible, if only physically speaking and for the redhead. Any which way it plays out for him, it is unpleasant, but he stoically hefts it. "More than just expectations, Toast," is wryly quipped.

Oh gods. That would involve getting up. Maggie isn't quite certain it's in the plans right now, her entire stomach tensely pulled. "…Uh… Sure… just… Just give me a few seconds…" If she can wait it out, then she can stand. She breathes through her nose again, tightly wrapping her fingertips around the ends of the chair's armrest she was in and leaning forward. Gods that hurts. Then Trask is kneeling down and she looks almost relieved through the pain. "Thank you…" She reaches out, accepting the pins in just slightly shaking hands. "…Congratulations… You are now Captain… Kal "Bootstrap" Trask, Squardon Leader of the VAQ-141, the Harriers…"

"More than expectations," Cidra affirms. When Quinn is done with Trask, she'll lean forward to kiss him. If he allows. Briskly, once on each cheek. They've been through this before, when he made full LT not so very long ago. As always there's a ceremonial quality to the gesture, though it's still done with affection.

"Anytime, Magpie," is murmured with a small smile. The deal done, this formal transferal of duty between the two is sealed with a brotherly kiss to Quinn's forehead, and then further so with each of Cidra's pecks. All in all, one could say the man's attitude is rather anticlimactic. At least there is no resentment or undercurrent or hostility like there was during the last time the trio was here to see him appointed and promoted. "Frak, I need a smoke. You couldn't've already had the kid, could you?" he cheekily derides the redhead. Because as long as she's around, he won't indulge his nic fit.

Quinn closes her eyes at the kiss against her forehead, her smile warming just a touch more itself. She nods towards both of them, clearly proud, though her eyes are still a touch glassy with moisture of some sort. Tears of happiness, probably. Surely? "Well, if you help me up and out of here, I'll get gone and you two can smoke to your heart's content while you talk business…" She doesn't respond to the comment of having the baby at all, though there might be just a flicker of guilt on her freckled features.

"You are dismissed, Jugs," Cidra says. "We shall have to work on integrating you back into the flight schedule after your child is born - and Medical is satisfied you are physically ready to return to duty. But that is a matter that is best settled at another time." Trask, for his part, is not dismissed. Perhaps it's finally time for that much-delayed Kepner conversation.

"Looks like mom won't let me walk you home," Trask smirks, "but I can at least get you past the hatch." Which he then moves to do, lending assistance as needed and doing the heavy pulling of both woman and door.

At least the worst of the pain has passed. She can get out the door and everything will be fine. Maggie slips her fingertips into Trask's hands and allows herself to be mostly pulled to her feet, breath held for just a heartbeat or two while she gets up. One, two, three! And up she goes. And a few seconds later there is a dripping sound from the cuff of her sweats. It's not the dramatic, wild breaking of water that some movies show but the floor, Trask's boots and mainly Maggie's sweats are definitely now wet. She blinks, eyes wide. "…Frak." She stares, utterly embarrassed, at both of them. Cidra's poor office.

Cidra about to settle back into her chair (and was already fishing about her desk for her cigarettes) when Quinn's swear makes her look up again. And freeze, mid-motion, eyes widening. "What…is…going…what…is it…?" Blink, blink, blink.

"That's not pee, is it?" Blink-blink. Bootstrap stands deadly still, as though not moving will somehow ensure it doesn't get worse. Wary, he certainly is, eyes constantly flickering between the puddle, Quinn's belly, and her face. "That… that's not pee…" Frak.

Quinn looks down, her cheeks darkening again in a heavy blush from the sudden pallor that first came. She shakes her head. "No… I… I think my water broke," she admits, still a touch in shock about it all even if Sweet Pea had told her the time was coming soon. Denial is a lovely thing. "I've been having… mild contractions. Thought they were false," she states flatly, like she was commenting on a change in duty schedule.

"You need to get to Sickbay," Cidra says, wide-eyed. She's not panicking, but this kid sure as hades isn't being born on her office floor. And, thank the Lords, Sickbay is just down the hall. She hustles out from behind her desk. "Boots, help her, please. We shall talk about your upcoming meeting with Commander Kepner later." And that ominous note, she'll help Trask with the helping of Quinn.

Condition One? No problem… when it's Cylons. The mental klaxons blaring at the realization of what's going on do little to jar the staring Trask. If anything, he is the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. For a moment, anyway. "Hmm? Uhhhhh." Blink-blink. Befuddled eyes follow the sound of Cidra's voice, halt for three beats, and then quickly dart back to Quinn. Just like that, it might as well be a basestar. "Shit. Right. Uh, frak. Can you waddle?" He's off to open the hatch. "Move out! Baby comin' through!" is called to the Naval offices. "Someone inform Medical they have incoming!" Then it's back to assist Quinn. "You've held on this long, Magpie. Don't you dare pop it out before we get you there." Then, non-sequitur, the SL informs the CAG, "I'm not apologizing unless he does." Evidently, once the shock wore off, the comment about Kepner also registered.

Quinn looks between the pair, trying not to be amused but, well, it really was a little amusing. Especially Trask. It helps with the embarrassment of it all. "Ah… I'm fine, it's okay… there… There's still time, I'm sure. Just calm down. I think I can get there myself just fine. You two can finish your meeting." She tries to reassure both of them, a worried smile crossing her features. She's terrified, yes, but she's trying to keep it together. And she can still waddle, even if it's rather icky. "I've got it. It's not that far. Just… just call for a janitor, I'll be fine… Thank you both. It'll be fine." And she does head for the door, slowly but surely. She's not popping anything out here. She hasn't even had another contraction.

"You will do what I order you to do, Captain," Cidra snaps at Trask. "Fight, fly, die and the rest." That's her final word on it. They can argue about the particulars later, but he's going. Now, however, she deals with Quinn. "I am walking with you." Her tone suggests no argument would be welcome. She'll take the road to Sickbay with them, on that note. The task of calling the janitor can be pawned off on some poor air ops officer hanging around the cubicles outside. Cidra's yeomen gets to do very little, except for lovely tasks like these.

"You heard her, Maggie. Although it'll be a while yet before you're flying. And definitely no dying. I order you to be insubordinate on that one." Oh, wait. That's not the Captain that Cidra was addressing? Too bad. "Easy does it." Carefully, he steadies Quinn as they make their way over to Medical.

Quinn leans against both of them, arms around shoulders, walking slow and steady as they head for the hallowed walls of sickbay. "Yes, sir." She comments flatly towards Cidra, at least taking the orders and the help without any more protesting. Though Trask's words are enough to make her blink. "Dying? No… no… I hope not… I don't… plan to, at least…" but the fear is there, behind her voice, quite clear. She knows the risks. She's frakking terrified. And then, about two feet from Sickbay's door, another contraction does hit. And it's a doozy. Oh, that's why these things hurt. She half crumples in their arms, a brief, cutting grunt of pain from her throat. "Frak me… frak… frak…" She pants out.

"Oh, hells no," Bootstrap asserts. "You grunting 'frak me, frak me' is what got you in this predicament in the first place."

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