PHD #136: Casual Friday
Casual Friday
Summary: Tillman discovers he really doesn't like the CO.
Date: 12 Jul 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Tillman Cora Pewter 
Commander's Quarters — Deck 4 — Battlestar Cerberus
The Admiral's Quarters are as stately as can be expected. One of the few rooms on the ship to get carpeting, it has numerous other small amenities that only few can ever dream of having. A personal bathroom has a privacy door to the side with its own shower and sink. The bunk has a queen size mattress which is set deep into the wall. Overhead of the bunk is personal storage while the rest of the room is lined with bookshelves and pictures from various points in the CO's life or noteworthy occasions. Above the Admiral's large oak desk is a set of displays the read-off various status reports throughout the day and night. A seating area with overstuffed chairs and a coffee table, is located nearer to the entrance hatch.
Post-Holocaust Day: #136

In the weeks after the admiral was relieved of command, a fair number of things aboard Battlestar Cerberus have changed — but the decor of this posh but not-quite-spacious room is one thing that has not. With the exception of the bedsheets (swapped out by an understanding Yeoman Parry), Colonel Andrus Pewter has left the room the way it is, moving only enough of its former resident's possessions to clear sufficient desk space for him to do his work. Abbot's familiar ashtrays were the first to go, and they'll be the first thing anybody entering will see: three in all, stacked one atop the other on the coffee table directly opposite the hatch.

The next thing? Pewter himself, his blue jacket flung carelessly atop a pile of papers on the ground. His grey undershirts are encrusted by a thin film of sweat that traces the contours of his belly, and his smiling eyes are wrinkled and tired. Four mugs of coffee are arrayed in front of him, only two and a half of which have been drained. The smell of burnt grounds hangs acrid in the air.

Tillman leads the way in his blues, knocking as he turns the hatch. Its evident by his demeanor that he probably doesn't get to talk to the Colonel much. Ever-present is the sidearm on his hip, the weight now comfortable for all the weeks he's been wearing it. He moves towards the center of the room and comes to a somewhat relaxed attention. "Colonel," he says gently in greeting.

Cora follows Tillman in, but not all the way, stopping inside the door without advancing into the center of the room. She comes to attention as well, and remains there, silently.

"Mmmmph." Pewter tosses out an informal salute as Tillman enters with a blonde in tow. The XO caught him sneaking a sip of the steaming coffee in cup number three, it seems, and it's with a vaguely irritated shake of his ponderous head that he wipes off a stray droplet of coffee dribbling down his chin. "Evenin', Major. El-tee. Y'all want some coffee? Parry put on a bunch extra for me, and since I was figurin' maybe I'd get some company, I didn't kill it all. Should be some clean mugs next to the machine, but if not, y'all just use these here empty ones of mine." His wide face breaks into a broad, toothy smile that can't quite hide his exhaustion. "It's good," he adds after a moment. "Extra-roasted, but y'all don't take it with milk unless y'all want me to bust y'all back down to Midshipman."

Pewter takes another massive gulp from his mug, and this time he doesn't bother to wipe his face. Instead, his free hand shoves forward what looks to be a hastily-printed leaflet for his visitors to read. "And after y'all've got y'all's drinks," he continues, smile wavering not one whit, "maybe y'all take a look at that and explain to this old dog why we've got a newspaper article out there sayin' our scientists done went and bought themselves a genocide. Hmm?"

Tillman shakes his head at the end of the offer with a simple, "No, thank you, sir." The Major only relaxes a bit more to stand at a simple parade rest in front of the CO until he tosses forth the article. There's a step forward to take it with one hand. Its read over quickly and looks back to Pewter before he returns it. Its pretty obvious the XO isn't happy. At all. "Depends on what the Colonel would like an answer for, sir? The article or the contents?" He keeps his voice carefully even, looking at the wall behind the larger man.

"No, thank you, sir," Cora echoes Tillman. She mimics his stance as well, shifting to parade rest until that leaflet is handed over. She remains still a moment, and then crosses the room to stand slightly behind Tillman. Not that she's trying to read over his shoulder, but she's close enough to take the page if Pewter tries to hand it to her next.

Which he does, offering it to the lieutenant while downing the rest of his mug. "Y'all want to sit down?" he asks after a brief pause, looking up at the two stiff officers with something like amusement on his face. "That pet reporter is y'all's problem, Clive. Me, I've just been sittin' here readin' this bit about wipin' the Cylons out of existence and only one thing comes to mind, and I bet y'all know what that is." His chair creaks under his weight as he leans forward in his seat, hands resting palm-down against the edge of the desk. "Knew a Marine, once, back in the day. S2 aboard Menelaos, my first command. His words, not mine: get some."

Tillman finally glances to Cora and gestures towards a chair. He takes the other one and settles in. By the look in his eyes, oh yes, Sawyer will be dealt with as his own problem. There's little doubt to that end. But the man remains silent the whole time, waiting for Pewter to finish. "Understood, sir. But I do have a few things I think need to be discussed, Colonel. I think the Lieutenant might have some good commentary on them as well considering her line of investigation. I have her working on hunting down the Cylons in our midst, sir. She was working with Sawyer Averies on it, though I'll have to speak to the reporter myself to find out if that's still going to be the case." Well, looks like its all on her, now. "But there are some things that need to be decided and theorized on."

Cora reaches out to take the page when Pewter offers it, eyes flicking rapidly across the page as she reads, a handy excuse to ignore (for likely neither the first nor last time today) discussion of Sawyer Averies. She hands the leaflet back when a seat is offered, and sits when Tillman has. She's talked about, but she still doesn't speak. Apparently she's a believer that low-grade officers should be seen and not heard unless directly addressed.

"Gods on Olympus, did old Crash really have y'all jumpin' around like fleas on a leashed dog?" Pewter chuckles, rocking backwards on his chair before fixing upon the officers a genial smile. "Y'all have somethin' to say, y'all say it. Don't need all the yessir nossir ofcoursesirs in here."

Tillman just dips his head. Right. The Major glances to Cora, "Lieutenant, please speak up with opinions and comments. I'd appreciate an outside perspective." Well, it might be new information to her. Maybe not. "Sir," the Major does it anyway, "Sergeant Constin, one of our MP's, has been heading up the investigation into the bombings on our Hangar Deck. The suicide of Petty Officer Morgenfield produced some questionable motives in light of her actions surrounding it. Especially considering that she was suspected of being an enemy agent - which the Eleven in custody confirmed. With the information we've received from all-source intelligence - to include the Eleven we interrogated yesterday - it would appear that Morgenfield killed herself so that she could escape. The humanoid Cylons have developed the ability to off-load their memories and experiences somehow. Once done, these memories are apparently available to the entire enemy command structure. The Sergeant hyptohesized, and I agree with this assessment, sir, that with Morgenfield's suicide she compromised our position and we are currently open for attack. I would recommend that we jump the entire fleet right away."

Cora has never met Crash, and so says nothing, just offering a faint hint of a smile, and nodding to the amended instructions from both men, replying, "Very well." She listens as Tillman relays the information, head turned towards the major as she listens. There's very little, if anything in her expression to give away what parts she may or may not be familiar with already. Though her lips purse thoughtfully at the last, she looks to the Colonel, letting him have the first opportunity to reply, even if she is allowed to talk now.

"I read that report. Somewhere in there." Pewter waves his hand in the direction of his jacket while he reaches for his fourth and last mug. "Now that we've got confirmed intel, I concur, with one exception — toasters already managed to get one research base right up under our noses. Might have more out there, and if they do, we need to find them. Get the data in them if we can, and if we can't, we'll just blow them up to avoid any nasty business like the last time." Simple as that. "Tell Major Hahn to escalate our schedule of sector sweeps. We don't turn up another in the next forty-eight hours, we don't stick around to check our work. Mmm." That's some tasty coffee. "This prisoner. 'Eleven,' if we're really callin' her that. She tell y'all about any other bases, El-Tee? Readin' y'all's report, Clive, seems like she's singin' like a canary beggin' not to be taken down into a coal mine."

Cora lets Pewter speak first, listening to the colonel's decision, or several as the case may be. "I haven't had a chance to interrogate the prisoner yet, Colonel, and I don't believe she's been asked about additional bases in this area. That's certainly on my list to ask about, though. If I might offer a thought on the question of relocating?" She pauses only a moment, having been given previous leave to speak, and says, "The forty-eight hours to sweep for other facilities will probably make this irrelevant, but it's possible, even probable, given my understanding of the Morgenfield incident, that the radiation clouds here make it impossible for humanoid cylons to communicate and resurrect. Not only would that mean that we can worry less about the prisoner attempting suicide, but also that they are unlikely to attack us here, since they would lose those raiders permanently as well. In other words, they may know we're here, but I doubt they'll want to come in and get us. Just a note."

"Sir, we can conduct ranged recon of this area and still jump the ships. We can have Raptors jump in and sweep. In the meantime, we are still open. There's no telling what she could have given them or what she tried to access." Tillman keeps his tone flat. "As for the Lieutenant's note, she is also correct. However, it would also give them time to array defenses. The Elevens were willing to die to finish this research. I suspect that they wouldn't forgoe the chance to kill the fleet with a known location." He let's that settle for a for moments before he continues. "Sir, its my belief that this particular Cylon, if it is being genuine about what its saying, may be talking for one reason only: She really does want the killing to end. She would have to know that by lying to us, it would destroy her credibility. If this Eleven is honest about that, she may see herself as an Ambassador. Should that be the case, Colonel, it is in her very best interest to see us believe and trust her. There is only one way that will happen and its complete cooperation at every turn." Even probably wouldn't be 100%.

"Open?" Pewter squints through his glasses, resting his mug on his belly as he thinks. "Maybe. Then again, let's say this Morgenfield did send over our position. If I was the Big Toaster Poo-Bah, y'all can bet I'd have all my godsdamned ships swoopin' in faster then I can say 'Holocaust,' and I can say that word pretty godsdamned fast, so on that count I'm with the El-Tee. But let's say the El-Tee's right and Big Toaster Poo-Bah can't send his business over here 'cause he's got no interest in dyin'. Know what I'd do? Put all my boats right up at the exit to this radiation soup and set up a nice surprise for anybody tryin' to get out. Which means we leave as a battlegroup, unless y'all feelin' like havin' our boys in them Raptors tryin' to fly out those tunnels with swarmin' Raiders breathin' down their pipes." And that, apparently, is that.

"As for this Cylon — you believe her? It?" Pewter can't quite decide what pronoun to use. "Make her give us somethin'. Low-risk, low-intensity targets, maybe. Test her."

"Well, yes, that is the obvious next step," Cora concedes, "To ambush us at the exit, assuming that jumping out without exiting the clouded area here isn't an option." She's not tech or engineering, she's allowed to not be totally certain of that bit. She listens to Pewter, the proposed test for the cylon. "I don't know if this is possible," she prefaces, "But if we could manage to test her in that manner without her knowing she was being tested, it would tell us more. If she knows that we're looking for something to verify, she can come up with something that'll appease us without really hurting her. If all of this has been a lie so far, I'd think taking it that next step would be something she'd have planned for already."

"There's an easy way around that, sir. Fly a Raptor to poke its nose out. Get a nav fix, bring it home, we jump from inside this soup." Tillman is apparently done giving protest. To the remarks about the Cylon, Tillman shrugs. "I've just started calling the Cylon a 'she'. Looks human. Acts human. It also seems to react better to being treated as an equal. As for targeting? I'm in agreement with the Lieutenant. It's unlikely, sir. She's pretty committed to seeing an end to the hostilities, too. If we're overtly asking for targets, I think she might stop talking. So far there's been good dialogue. I'm fairly sure I can get something out of her. I also have a few ideas as to testing what she is saying..but so far its all stacking up. We gave her nothing and she would have to have been privy to all of our investigation data to be filling in holes where we have them. Some of what she is saying explains a lot where nothing else fits. I'm inclined to give what she is saying some leeway. Everything is obviously a potential deception, but if we aren't giving up anything then there is nothing lost. Even lies will tell us something. As long as she is talking, we have nothing to lose."

"Hold one, Clive," says Pewter, chugging from his now-lukewarm coffee. "Y'alls got y'all's fancy E-class FTL — or F-class, I don't remember — and can do that, but Corsie?" The ancient flak frigate Corsair, the colonel's previous command. "She's a right tough old bitch but her FTL's older than my mother-in-law, and Nancy's got two teeth left." A wry little smirk. "In-laws. So — we've got to fly out as a battlegroup, which means y'all better use these forty-eight hours to bring me a battle plan in case the Supreme Toaster's as smart some sea rat gettin' senile. Just somethin' to keep in y'al's minds. As for her?" Pewter drowns his distaste for the pronoun with a bit of coffee. "Too bad y'all don't know if it's possible, El-Tee" he says, his smile avuncular. "Cause I like that idea. I like that idea so much y'all best come up with a way to make it possible. Mm?"

Cora's lips curve in a flitting hint of a smile at that joke about toothless in-laws, but she otherwise just listens, apparently not having anything new to add to the tactical retreat discussion. The colonel's request is met with a stilling of whatever already-invisible movement the lieutenant was making, and then she just nods, replying, "I'll do my best, colonel."

Tillman nods. "If you try that, Lieutenant, I'd be very careful. Remember how smart these things are. It probably knows we'll use this information for tactical or strategic employment, but if it thinks we are asking for specifics?" The man shakes his head. "Helluva risk." He takes a long breath and looks back to the Colonel. "Sir? With you permission I'd like to take the good cop angle to her. If we provide her with someone she believes will trust her and just talk to her without any perceived tricks, that may provide us a safety net. Regardless of what else is going on, she wouldn't have to feel threatened. I was originally an intelligence officer and I think I could do some damage with that training."

"You've also got some big-ass pins on that collar, Clive," Pewter observes dryly, taking off his reading glasses and setting them down on the mahogany desk. His sweats crinkle as he shifts in his chair to rest his left thigh atop his right knee. "Said it yourself. Thing's smart. Probably coulda done good in Miss Rochefort's fourth-period calculus class, and man." Pewter laughs aloud, nearly spilling what remains of his coffee — which he now drinks to make sure he doesn't waste any of the life-giving liquid. "Still wake up havin' nightmares about that class and I'm forty-nine. Y'all think it'll take her more than ten microseconds to figure out the ship's XO might be lookin' for info that might be tactically or strategically useful, well." He doesn't finish the sentence. "Cop uniform don't fit on y'all's body any longer, Clive." The man's tone is firm but gentle. "Cora, on the other hand."

"She fried y'all once," the colonel adds, almost as an afterthought. "Might be that makes her feel guilty, if Cylons can feel guilty."

Cora… smiles. Or maybe it's more of a smirk, technically, because it's close-mouthed, lips pressed together and curved up to one side to hold in a sudden flash of black good humor. "I was just having a very similar thought, Colonel," she says, "That she might feel guilty about what she's done to me. Might believe I'm less looking for intel and more for some sort of personal closure, or explanation. So good cop might work. I think alternately we could turn that into bad cop, depending what we think would be more effective. I have every reason to be angry and skeptical, too." She shrugs, saying, "I think either way could be an interesting angle. It might be possible to play both, transition from one to the other if she's not giving us what we want. I'm willing to try whatever approach you think is best."

Tillman doesn't look impressed, eyes lidding low. "Yes, sir." It would appear that the Major doesn't have much else to say on the topic, his jaw clenching shut.

"Unbunch y'all's panties, Clive." Pewter's voice is edged with steel, his folksy accent growing sharper. "Now I'm not an intel guy, and I won't be pretendin' to know about that spooky shit. I'm good at shootin' my big guns, and if y'all ask y'all's Wing, I bet they'll all say I shoot 'em real good. But can't use a four-ton shell to bust open this Cylon head, else I'd already know all she's got to say, so. Y'all have the final decision on this, Clive, not me, but y'all damn well make sure that ego's kept the hell away from the prisoner." Only now does Pewter relax, setting down his mug before lounging back in his chair — doing his best to stifle a yawn that comes despite all the caffeine he's shoved into his system. "Just sayin'," he murmurs, sonorous voice echoing against the room's wooden panels. "Just sayin'." Beat. "Well. Anything else?"

"Can I just add?" Cora looks between the two, pale brows lifting, "I think Major Tillman's right to remain involved, and to continue the repoire he's built up with the prisoner. Either she doesn't buy that he's friendly and is toying with him, does buy it and is leading him by the nose, or is genuinely engaging. In either case we're getting valuable intelligence, and a baseline to work from, something to angle other approaches off of. That's my take, anyway." Which they did ask for. That seems to be all she has to say.

Tillman just stares at the CO while he gets that talking-to. Spotting that distate for the Colonel's words doesn't take a microscope. Its like he didn't even hear Cora's words, though. "No, sir. That is all."

"Uh-huh." Pewter doesn't seem to terribly much mind the fact that Tillman's gone into clam-up mode. "The balance between 'good cop' or 'bad cop' or whatever y'all's roles of the day are going to be? Y'all settle however. I'm not gonna get into the details, except to say that from where I'm sittin', from this here non-expert position?" A faint shrug is offered to the officers before him. "If I was in a Cylon cell and the assistant to the Supreme Leader comes by, says it wants to chat? I'm not even tellin' him what hole I shit through. But y'all's mileage may vary." Pewter grunts as he levers himself up from his desk, raised foot hitting deck with a clanging thud. "Battle plans, don't forget. Just knock." The colonel grins tightly. "I sure as frak won't be sleepin'. Thanks, y'all, for comin' by — and Cora, before I forget: that's some steely business y'all pulled back there on the station." There's a faint pause as he considers saying more; then, settling only for a worn and weary smile: "Dismissed."

Cora stays silent now, just listening, until Pewter addresses her directly. She nods, replying evenly, "Yes, sir." When he dismisses them she rises, salutes, and heads for the exit.

The Major rises from the chair and throws a fast salute from attention before turning and leaving without another word.

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