PHD #197: Civic Virtue
Civic Virtue
Summary: Kincaid meets his client, Michael Abbot, and talks him into going to trial.
Date: 11 Sept 2041 AE
Related Logs: Clinging to Life.
Kincaid Abbot 
Officer's Brig - Deck 6 - Battlestar Cerberus
These pair of cells are roomier than one might expect. Each one is provided individual access by a door at the front, located on the other side of the room from the hatch. Each one essentially an armored glass cage, this area is walked and guarded by Marines day and night. Privacy not being a huge concern for prisoners, inside the cell is a single bunk and toilet in full view with nothing else. All visitors must sign-in with the Marine at the desk. Cameras are located at the entrance and on the cell itself, everything recorded onto disk in the Security Hub.
Post-Holocaust Day: #197

There are many downsides to being accused of collaborating with the Cylons — the nasty rumors, the solitary confinement, the shit that passes for meals, the periodic interrogation — but one upside nearly makes up for everything: the sheer amount of free time. Rear Admiral Michael Abbot has been keeping himself busy since his arrest some months ago, having burned through every page of every book with which the library has provided him, and he still hasn't even scratched the surface of the battlestar's collection. Not, of course, that he isn't trying: indeed, judging from the stack of books by his cot, twenty in all, he's got more than enough to amuse himself for the next month and a half.

It's one of those twenty that Abbot reads now, his blue eyes flicking from word to word to word like the reel of some jerky old typewriter. Dressed in nondescript Colonial sweats and enveloped in nondescript Colonial sheets, he's managed to position himself right below the room's single bulb — all the better for his vision, which after all this reading has started to fade away.

Bzzzt. The buzz is something of a familiar noise, no doubt. It means someone's coming in. Food, perhaps? More books? Interrogator? Who knows. It's hard to tell at first because the fellow who enters is in Marine duty khakis, but without his MP belt around his waist. Maybe it's to make him look less intimidating. Maybe it's so Abbott can't grab his baton and make a break for it. And maybe Abbot might recognize him from the press pool: Danny Kincaid, Libran Post. Just one more question, Admiral …

He even has his trademark reporter's notebook and ballpoint pen — much nicer than that which the Fleet issues — in his hand. But he doesn't have a question right away this time. Instead he has a greeting, a wry, to the point one. "Admiral. Danny Kincaid." Not Lance Corporal Kincaid. But Danny Kincaid. "I'll be your advocate. I won't say lawyer and demean the profession anymore than it has been already. But I'll be the one speaking for you at your upcoming trial." He offers his hand. To shake, perhaps?

Kincaid shrugs his shoulders. "You should have seen the bunks they gave us in Basic," remarks the Marine with a small grin. He settles down on the bed next to the former Commander of the Battlestar. "At least you've got a place to yourself." With that out of the way, he's to the point: "Let me just start with this: I don't care if you're a Cylon. I mean, professionally, how I'm going to do this job. Maybe you are. Maybe you aren't. If you were, I doubt you'd have some cinematic moment where you bare your soul to me." Cynic. "But I think if they're going to want to put you up in front of a firing squad, they're going to have to answer some questions first. That's what I do. I don't let people settle for the easy explanations just because they're easy."

"You know you can't win a journalism prize for this." It'll take more than a few months in captivity to remove Abbot's air of command, which informs everything from his voice to his manner. Casual, yes; unwary, no. "To the contrary, you might well find yourself on the wrong side of twelve guns the moment word gets out — and word will get out." The older man shifts in his seat, leaning back against the headboard of his cot. "If you're looking for glory, Mister Kincaid" — addressed by his first name no longer — "You'd best find a grenade on which to jump."

"I can't win a journalism prize for anything more, sir." Being a Marine has added that word to Danny's vocabulary more than it used to be in the past. "All the people who give 'em out are incinerated." Two can play at this game of barbs. "They shoot me. So what? I've had Cylons shoot at me. Ungrateful Sagittarons shoot at me. Someone's going to hit eventually. Doesn't matter all that much who it is; I'm equally dead in the end. And if I wanted to be popular and go along with the consensus, I wouldn't have gone into my previous line of work." He clicks open his pen. "You've got to admit, sir. I'm custom-tailored for the assignment."

Abbot regards the journalist-turned-soldier with a long and silent look — considering something, though what exactly he's considering remains unclear. Then, at length: "We have cameras watching and listening to everything that's said in here," he observes, a little dryly. "Cameras, plural. I had my people add more when it became clear your QUODEL people might hang us out to dry on brig security." Just a wisp of bitterness crosses his face. "This, Mister Kincaid. This is irony." And it really confounds the notion of attorney-client privilege, the admiral doesn't add. "So. You've established you're not going to ask if I really am a Cylon agent. I admit I fail to see what comes next."

"No." Abbot doesn't need to shake his head to emphasize the point. And then: "You should also know I plan to plead guilty." The man closes his eyes for one breath, then two — slow and even. The decision is, it appears, the product of some long months of thinking. "They're going to convict me anyway, Mister Kincaid. Better not to subject the Fleet to the whole spectacle of a trial." Even when spoken aloud, the word 'Fleet' sounds like it's capitalized. "Unless you disagree."

"Well." Even when you think you've heard it all, Danny, some things still knock you on your ass. He doesn't say anything for a while, letting the silence hang between the two of them. On a transcript, lawyers are told, silence doesn't look like anything. Best to stay quiet than look stupid. Finally, he answers with something like a non sequitur. "One of our deckhands got shot and killed last night — Lauren Coll. Some guy saw her, shouted 'Cylon!', grabbed a sidearm, and plugged her right in the chest. That's what fear and suspicion does to people, when they just leap to conclusions rather than stopping and trying to think it through." A pause. "But of course it's your call in the end."

"She did, did she." Abbot's face slackens as he leans back against his pillow, hand resting against the spine of his book. He allows himself a long, drawn-out sigh that will definitely find its way onto the transcript though it's just a fraction away from being silent. Such is the quality of the microphones in here. "I know the name, not the face." There goes that smile. "Was the shooter one of ours?"

"No." Kincaid's not going to lie to make his point. "Sagittaron." But that doesn't stop him. "You know what people are saying? That the shooter had balls. That he did the right thing. That's the mindset people are in right now. And you know why?" Here's where he makes his point. "Because people haven't heard anything other than the one side. No one's stood up and said, 'what the Hades is going on here?' And because of it, one of the last souls in the human race is dead. Two, actually. They took down the shooter, too."

"Mm." A short, brief nod as Abbot looks up at the ceiling, forgetting momentarily that the blinding light is on. For the first time, the man flinches, blinking a few times to clear his vision of the glare. "What is the other side, Mister Kincaid?" he wonders as he does, his voice as clipped as ever. Whatever effect the story had, it seems to be gone. "That before one goes out and shoots a suspected Cylon agent, one should afford that suspect the benefit of — due process?" A delicate note of skepticism edges into his tone, which remains ever so polite. And then, a non sequitur of his own: "Have you read Cobeck before?" Gaunt fingers tap his book's gold-lettered spine.

Kincaid looks like he's ready to answer the rhetorical question, to leap to the defense of his position, to say it's not about due process but — but instead he allows Abbott to take the lead in the conversation, as he did a moment ago. And so he nods. "Sure. I took plenty of Political Science classes. Still have it — had it — on my shelf at home somewhere."

Abbot's smile becomes taut when Kincaid changes tenses. "So did I," he says, reaching behind him to change the way his pillow rests against the small of his back. "So you recall the part about 'civic virtue.' Blames the loss of that for the fall of his empire — cast to the winds of history by degenerate leaders who, in being degenerate, created a whole class of degenerates, and — " A faint puff of his breath. "There goes the house of cards. Not poor tactical or strategic planning, not an out-of-date military, not unwise alliances, not the Cassandra Incident — " Abbot runs his thumb up and down the book's plastic cover, which crackles under the pressure of his touch. "'Civic virtue.' Heh. I thought it was bunk. Now, I'm not so sure."

"Cobeck wasn't a liberal," Abbot observes archly. Not that he's getting into it or anything; his manner is as cool and collected as ever. "Civic virtue for him was some thinly disgused notion of the 'hard man.' Stoic is one word for it. Return home with your shield or on it — that sort of thing. Setting the cause of feminism back fifty years, my professor said, but he was always a critical theory twat." The admiral looks away from Kincaid at the glass wall of his cell and the Marines standing impassively beyond, that thin smile having returned. "There's something ineffably romantic about it. Pity we're running out of people." Goodbye, smile. "Lauren Coll, was that her name?" Of course it was.

"Yeah," confirms Kincaid, replacing his speech with three words. "Lauren Coll."

There's thirty seconds of silence for the transcriber to note: thirty seconds on the nose, interrupted only by the faint crackle of that book's plastic shell. And then, at last: "You'll have your trial, Mister Kincaid." Abbot's gaze settles on the ex-reporter before it moves to the hatch. An unspoken invitation to depart. "Let's hope the man was wrong."

"Let's hope." Kincaid rises. He clicks his pen closed, not having written down a word. "Admiral." And then he leaves as he came, with the BUZZ of the cell's lock.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License