PHD #003: Cost/Benefit
Summary: Tillman and Stavrian discuss what happened at Virgon, and what will happen next.
Date: 03.01.2041
Related Logs: Virgon's Coffin, Counting Coffin Nails
Tillman Stavrian 

[ Ward Room ]-----[ Deck 7 - Battlestar Cerberus ]

A large oak table in the center that is surrounded by high-backed, black leather chairs, and is one of the few compartments that has carpeted floor dominates the Ward Room. There is a large LCD screen at one end of the room for presentations that faces the CO's position at the head of the table. At the other end of the room is a small counter for refreshments and has stacks of legal pads and writing utensils available for those that use the room. Nearest the hatch is a small screen set into the wall, which provides a readout for a customizable set of data. Along the starboard wall, stand the 12 flags of the colonies.

-=[ Condition Level: 2 - Danger Close ]=-------—-

The hours following the recon and the debrief by the CAG and TACCO have left some people nervous. One is the Captain, himself. He's been in and out of CIC and the quarters of the Command Staff all morning. But the need to talk to Stavrian is high and the time sent along. He's currently at the Ward Room table with a legal pad and quickly jotting notes down, the legal pad already having been rung over the back a few times.

When the hatch opens to admit the Junior Lieutenant, it's about two minutes on the late side. In duty camo, wearing brassard and still smelling like the antiseptic he doused his hands in before running down here, Stavrian walks up to the ward table and then stops, about two feet away. "Captain, sir." His voice is slightly scratchy, salute brought up but not snapped.

Tillman looks up, probably not even noticing that he's late. Even then, can you really blame him? He lifts and tilts the pen towards Stavrian. "At ease, Lieutenant. Take a chair if you'd like. Shouldn't take but a few minutes though." The TACCO looks like he's been busy and a little harried, but still unslept. Like everyone else. "Alright, I want your thoughts on the recon, son. Whatever sticks out to you." There's probably more questions to follow.

Son? Stavrian squeezes his fingers over the tip of his nose and clears his dry throat. He sets his hands on the back of the chair rather than sitting in it; the skin is raw and cracked from the constant scrubbing between days' worth of military and civilian patients. "I doubt there's much I can say that hasn't been covered one way or another, sir. Virgon…" His eyes flicker once, but he forces them to remain on Tillman. "I couldn't even see the surface for all the cloud cover thrown up. Anyone down there is either far underground or dead of radiation poisoning by now." The control in his voice is pretty incredible, considering.

The TACCO nods. "Fair enough. I know a fair bit about nuclear weaponry, but given what you saw and know about radiation, would you say Virgon is more or less a total loss?" He keeps his voice low and serious, but not impersonal like some might try. He knows he can't imagine what they saw with their own eyes.

Stavrian holds Tillman's eyes a while, and the sheer weight of the question is visible in those blues. "As a human being, sir, I would scream no." A pause, and his jaw tightens. "As a soldier, I have to say yes."

Tillman doesn't respond, watching the medic's reaction. After the last response he looks back to the pad and nods, eyes not really focusing on the paper in front of him. "We'll try to get a recon group back there to confirm it. I won't put the judgment of this fleet on you. Just looking for your opinion." He clears his throat lightly and looks back to the younger man. "What you saw with the Major you all picked up." Ahem. "Thank you for doing what you did, Lieutenant. That took guts." A pause. "But do you think that would probably be standard for most Viper pilots who were out there? We're trying to establish for the possibility of survivors."

Stavrian nods slightly at that first part. The thanks is met with a second of silence, as if he were unsure how to respond. It's the last question that's finally addressed. "There's no standard for how radiation will affect someone's mental state, sir. If the Major had not…done what he did, there's a chance he could have been saved. A small chance, but one nonetheless." What ifs. They always loom large, casting their shadows. "Emergency pods would shield from radiation, as would the hulls of ships if any survivors managed to seal themselves off in secure compartments. I would advise strongly that someone from medical continue to accompany any forward recon attempts."

"You don't play chances with someone like that. I couldn't have asked for anything more. I think everyone on that crew owes you something, personally." He holds the Lieutenant's eyes for a long few seconds before he continues. "So its possible that there could be survivors out there in that massive graveyard?" Tillman looks to the pad and taps his pen on it. "Gods I can't even imagine. It makes sense, though." Tillman takes another few moments to mull the recommendation and he sits back in the chair. "Alright. I'll ensure that each recon we put into the Colonies or that area takes a corpsman. Maybe even a Marine or two. Brief your people, Lieutenant, and I'll talk to your CO. Is there anything else you want to add?" The TACCO lifts his brow ever so slightly. "Anything at all? If not then you can go. I won't keep you here."

The mention of owing Stavrian anything simply has him shaking his head slightly. He clears his throat softly at the first question, considering. "Just this, sir. I think it is enough of a possibility to be taken seriously, sir. Thermal scanning would be the best option, both from the Raptor if possible and with handheld scanners if we have such things aboard. It's how we searched after the Kildare earthquake." He draws a breath. "The window of opportunity for saving anyone trapped above the surface is dropping…humans can only go a few days without water. A week if they have water and no food." And that clock's ticking fast. "The surface would, I expect, be longer if anyone has managed to get to a safe underground shelter."

"I saw your report and estimation on the number of ships out there. We can't search them all. Any ideas on how we might look faster and narrow our chances? We've got Raptors but we can't put all our eggs into one basket. Given what you saw, would you risk breaking radio silence out there in hopes of finding someone? And more importantly - would you risk the lives of Raptor crews?" Tillman would probably make this decision on his own but he wasn't there. "Kildare. Yeah, I remember that. I was on the Hairetos. Planned the landing but heard your crews saved a lot of lives." To what ends is up to the Gods now. "Anyone on the surface of those planets may be stuck there, Lieutenant. If everything was coordinated like we saw on Picon, there may not have been time. Likely those personnel in those bunkers are few and far between. I wouldn't give much hope to the civilian ones. But if we can get into contact with one, I will speak to you personally. Think you could handle going into a nuclear wasteland like that if I need you to?"

"I was on the Hairetos," Stavrian replies, his focus momentarily broken by that. Mild suprise, which he then pushes back down to go on. "Thermal scanning is our absolute best bet, sir." His hands fold on the chair back, right atop left. "If we have a way to do it widespread…I don't know if Raptors can do that." He watches Tillman for any sign of yes or no there, raising an eyebrow slightly. "Radioing, I don't think is worth the risk unless we're sure something is there. It's doubtful survivors in the wreckage or even on the surface would have access. Less so the former than the latter." He lifts a hand to scratch at the dark stubble plaguing his jawline. "Sir, my duty is to preserve human life. I would go into the gates of Hades if I had to."

The prior station is noted. He'll have to remember that. "Alright. I'll get with the CAG on it and we'll start working something up. See if we can't throw crews together on the double. The thermal scanners, best I can recall, don't get much detail on wideband scans. I -think- they only can detail scan individual sections of ships. They're going to have to play favorites out there." He clears his throat, then. "Well, the thought with radios is that there may be one or two out there who still have handheld tactical radios. Like the ones you all use on your fireteams. The problem is that batteries may or may not be dead. Comms with the surface of Virgon, though…Too unlikely. What the cylons didn't hit directly with strikes would probably have been knocked out with EMP. They would have to have constructed new arrays or repaired the old ones. That would probably cost lives to them. I can appreciate your willingness to head down there, though. If there is anything you will be the first to hear about it."

"We'll have someone on standby to accompany any effort, sir. Surface or longrange." Stavrian licks his dry lower lip, feeling a flap of chapped flesh irritate the tip of his tongue. "Do you know, sir, if there will be plans to check the other colonies?"

"I will be setting up additional recons of every single colony with the CAG. Its already been touched on during the debriefing of the Raptor crew last night. I can't leave anything to chance. I don't think this crew would stand for it, either." Whether or not he has personal motivations of his own isn't exactly clear but seeing the man and his inflection? Its likely. "I imagine you'll have to go again. Any, ah..preference? On which colony you'd like to see with your own eyes?"

"No, sir." That might be a lie. It's very hard to tell, Stavrian's voice not quite neutral but definitely very careful about showing any cracks. "I would like to know for certain about Sagittaron…but that's whether I saw it or not. This is a shared burden."

"I know the feeling. We're supposed to be dispassionate about this but the hard truth is that considering our potential loss-" Tillman sighs. "I don't think that's possible." He tosses the pen onto the legal pad and lifts his gaze back to the Lieutenant. "I'll tell you what, when we put together the recons, I'll talk to the CAG about it. Have her ask you where you want to go and you can make the decision on your own. You had to deal with hell on that trip to Virgon. Opt out if you prefer or get some closure. Nobody who sat in that Raptor and went to Virgon will be made to visit another colony on such a quick turnaround. Sound fair?"

"I'm fine, sir." Stavrian gives the second word a slight emphasis, his eyes holding Tillman's. "We'll do what's best for the recon effort, and that's that. I'll be sure any available away medic is prepped and ready at a few hours' notice, to account for our rotations. When the recon leaves it leaves, and one or two of us will be ready for you, sir."

"Yeah, by accounts I'm fine, too." Tillman's voice deadpans it. But he doesn't say any more on it. "That all sounds very good, Lieutenant. Like I said, I'll speak to your CO and ensure she understands. If she doesn't, she will."

"You," Word stressed, "Need to lay off the coffee." Stavrian's tone, for all its gravitas, is betrayed by the faintest twitch of his lips. Momentary thaw, barely there and gone again. "And understood." He falls silent then, and then lips part but it's a full two seconds before he says, "Where are you from, sir?"

"I'll lay off the coffee when Command does. Until then, I'm under the same pressure to keep going as anyone else on this ship. I'm not a special case." He smirks a bit, but the expression doesn't quite fit on his tired face. "Canceron, originally. I don't hold any ties there, though. Scorpia is home." Tillman won't resort to past tense. Not yet. "I have some close ties to Gemenon, too. You're from Sagittaron, yes?"

"Yes, sir." Stavrian's accent answered before he does. It's heavy and slightly guttural, not what any Caprican would ever call 'nice to listen to'. He draws a breath in that straightens his shoulders, and softly clears his throat. "We'll await your and Captain Diego's order then, sir. If there's nothing else, permission to be dismissed?"

Tillman nods. "You're dismissed. And thank you again, Lieutenant. Stay safe, son."

Stavrian may be younger than Tillman by more than a decade. But right now, his blue eyes are a hundred years old. "Gods guide, sir." He backs up, raising salute, and after its return he turns on his heel, headed out back to work.

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