PHD #055: Crop Dusters and Breeding Stock
Crop-Dusters and Breeding Stock
Summary: Daphne, Kulko and Tisiphone discuss military vs. civilian over breakfast.
Date: 2041.04.23
Related Logs: None.
Daphne Kulko Tisiphone 
Galley — Deck 9 — Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #55
Behind the two hangar decks, the Cerberus' Galley is the largest room on the ship. Nearly half the size of a football field, the eating area is made up of long lines of stainless steel tables that can be folded up and placed against the wall for larger events. Individual seats are the standard military issue, boring and grey with lowest-bidder padding. The line for food stretches across one of the shorter sides of the room while the kitchen behind works nearly twenty-four hours a day to produce either full meals or overnight snacks and coffee for the late shifts.
Condition Level: 3 — All Clear

<Tis's log begins here. More before this, once Kulko or Daphne can add.>

Stephen's gestures to his ever-present companion, the massive red tome entitled A Manual of Colonial Naval Tactics and Procedures, which rests by the coffee machine while he procures his food. "Well as can be. XO's got me reading up. Apparently at O-1 they tell you how good a job you're doin', then as soon as O-2 hits the work starts in earnest. Did you know that enlisted ratings aren't even allowed to /hold/ the FTL key, even if directly ordered by the CO?"

"I'm not surprised." Daphne pours herself some hot tea and, in a twisted fit of suicide, puts some sugar into her mug. "Though not letting them hold it is a bit extreme. I suppose if there's a situation where it's vital that they hold onto it, they can worry about the aftermath later." She peers back down at her clipboard, then turns towards the tables in general. Apparently tea is all she's really after this morning. "Awfully fast promotion. But I guess that's what happens when, well… yeah. I wanted to apologise, you know."

"Apologize?" Kulko settles the book and his mug on the tray, following along towards a table. "Don't sweat it, Kolettis. Given what happened, I can't hold a foul mood 'gainst you. I'd be right pissed too if I had to spend part of my evenin' hangin' round in a vacuum." He settles in, back to the counter so he's facing the door, and starts to peel one of the oranges. "It was fast, you're right. Any other year, any other ship, not a chance in Hades I'd be wearin' these."

"Yeah, but you came over to check us out. That was the first time I'd ever ejected into a combat zone. I don't know if you know what that's like. I mean… I know you don't." Daphne half-shrugs, situating herself at a table, and placing a napkin under her mug. "But it's worse than anything else I've ever seen. I kept feeling like I wanted to cry. I finally did. So I was… taking it out on you. It took guts to visit us."

Trundle, trundle. Tisiphone slips in amongst the stream of other breakfastfolks, scrubbing drowsily at the back of her shorn head. She moves into place at the end of the line, collects a tray from the stack, and flaps it through the air a couple times to shake all the water off of it. As she shuffles through the line, looking generally unhappy with the offerings (like the rest of the Cerberus), she grimaces a little and procures herself a bowl of shredded wheat and a glass of reconstituted milk.

"Right again. Ain't got a clue. Bout even half'a what y'all deal with," Kulko affirms, separating the orange into its component wedges. He pauses for a few forkfuls of egg and a gulp of coffee. "But if I'm supposed to tell you to fly somewhere, I ought to be more than a voice on the comms. Least, that's what the Boss says." Not all the lessons come from the textbook. Kulko raises his mug Tisiphone's way to alert her to their presence.

"Not so sure that's the best idea, really. You know, one of the things my daddy always taught me is that there's a danger about getting too familiar with your men." Daphne shrugs to herself, "He's a Major and was awfully firm with the engineers he had under him. Was. I guess. Was." The depression reaction seems to have dulled over time. She's not reacting much at all, it seems. She takes a seat and rubs her temples, "Every one of us in the 154th is going to die. You're going to watch it happen. I'm not so sure you want to be that familiar a face."

Oranges. Hey, those are acceptable. Tisiphone digs around in the fruit-bin, leaving a lot of freshly-bruised apples in her wake, until she finds an orange of her own. Her usual giant tumbler of water is snagged last of all. She cuts out of line before the knot of people at the tea- and coffee-service and heads for Daphne and Kulko, dipping a mute nod of greeting before she closes the distance.

"You look far nuff ahead, we're all gonna die anyway," Kulko counters, setting down the mug long enough to attack his oatmeal. "Supposin' there's a line to be walked, an' part of this," a vague wave towards the textbook, "is figurin' out how far I can go before I cross it. Mornin, Tis," he greets on the other pilot's approach.

Daphne nods to Tisiphone. Tis will recognize the clipboard she's carefully set on the table in front of her. It's a list of ACMs along with scores, comments, etc. Like she's being graded. Oddly enough, its in her own handwriting. "Morning, Tis." She sips her tea, "THere's a fine line, yeah. Go too hard, and everyone hates you. Go too light, and they start to give you trouble. I think that's why everyone hates Ensigns and Jigs."

"Cheerful," Tisiphone observes, sarcastically, as she closes the gap. She slides her tray down onto the table, digs a square of plastic full of assorted pills out of her pocket and tosses it onto the tray as well, then drags out a chair next to Daphne and drops down into it. "Frak that, they hate us because we still remember how the frak to do stuff." Like stare balefully at her powdered milk. Tis has refused to touch the stuff before now.

"An' here I was thinkin' they hate us for our roguish good looks," replies Kulko in between egg and coffee. "Y'all just let me know if I start crossin' the line one way or another. But do it all quiet-like, so I can seem perceptive."

"And our limbs don't creak when we get out of bed, yeah." Daphne sips her tea. "But that might be right on the don't know how to do stuff front. If I ever get as bad as our Jigs and El Tees, just frakking shoot me." She shakes her head. "I don't know where the line is. I was just a kid sitting on my daddy's lap and asking him why he's so mean to uncle Connors." She asides, "Specialist Connors. I used to call him Uncle Connors. Whatever. But I guess I'll let you know if I know."

"Oh, yeah. Yeah, that too. Definitely." Tisiphone looks up from trying to wrestle open the little pill-packet with her too-short fingernails, aiming a sly grin across at Kulko. Her attention moves next, like the snoop she is, to Daphne's clipboard, eyes narrowed slightly at the assessments. Without looking away from her friend's handwriting, she says, "Don't worry. I'll let you know when you start getting too familiar with the pilots." Snort.

"Sure an' you will," Kulko tosses back, turning his attention to the orange and devouring it in sequence. He starts to peel the second of the two. "Is it that bad down in pilotville? I know the Boss puts Calvin and I to shame when it comes to… well, anything, really."

Daphne is giving herself high marks for most maneuvers, unsurprisingly. She doesn't seem to think she does some of the pursuit tactics all that well, and has circled three moves in red pen and added, "This is why they got you." in red marker. Thankfully, she hasn't written 'see me after class' anywhere, which might imply she has multiple personality disorder. "We lost half our pilots almost two months ago. They just merged the viper and raptors into the same living quarters. It's noisy in there again, but every week it gets just a little quieter. This isn't sustainable."

Tisiphone jostles bony shoulders with a shrug as she looks up from the clipboard. "Doesn't matter if it's sustainable. It's what we've got to work with. Kinda weird but- nice to hear the berths sounding the way they did when we came aboard though, huh?" It's not like she's really gained or lost any privacy, herself, with Daphne her upstairs neighbour from Day One. "Ten years of bad habits and complacency would turn anyone's flying to shit," she theorizes. "At least the Lieutenants that slept their way up don't have daddies to cry to for new assignments, anymore."

Kulko tosses the peeled orange up and catches it once before starting to separate it out. "S'not /entirely/ true, Tis." He munches a wedge or two, looking the two pilots over before continuing on. "Turns out there's a fair count of civilian refugees with flight experience. Might well be able to tap that resource, if we play our cards right. I know Vipers are a whole 'nother beast, but better to start with someone who knows up from down."

"Well, our wonderful government's busy planting the seeds of dissent in everyone's minds, meanwhile. I ran into a Quorum member of some kind who, when he wasn't being a completely sexist, disgusting piece of shit, busy doing what I could only describe as intent to cause mutiny, telling everyone that 'Mikey' is just going to get us all killed. I'm not too happy having the civvies next door."

Tisiphone's lingering sly amusement snaps abruptly, like a brittle twig. She looks over at Kulko, pale brows lifted just so, at the concept of putting civilians into Vipers. "'Tap that resource?' Give them a mop. We've got a hard enough time keeping eachother alive after years of training."

"We've got a Viper factory onboard, broken or not. We can put more planes in the air. It's the pilots we can't crank out - and if there's any half-trained crop dusters or whatnot hangin' round the ship, I'm sure a few months of watchin' y'all work your magic will get them up to speed." Kulko shrugs and finishes up the second orange.

Daphne shakes her head only once. Left to right. "Dangerous. Tis is still recovering from the time her wingmate left her high and dry. We come home only because we watch each other. You studied military history, right? You know what happens when a phallanx has a few weak links, don't you?"

Recovering, and forced to eat 'dietary supplements' and drink her reconstituted milk. A-jibbly jibbly. "Half-trained cropdusters? Stephen." Tisiphone says Kulko's name the way one might say 'bitch? please'. "You're getting a little close to suggesting six years and half a million cubits of education and training pushes out farmers, you know?"

Kulko leans in towards the pilots across the table. "Naw, you got it all wrong. All I'm sayin' is that at some point, we're gonna need more pilots, and we'd be better off takin' those who already know the basics than startin' off from scratch."

"Either way, it's not going to be a good time. There's a reason they make pilots officers and most marines are enlisted. WHo am I kidding?" Daphne downs her coffee in a single gulp, "I'm not having a good time now." She shrugs. "Sooner or later, we're all going to have to fight. Lucky tells me I'm dead wrong, but I don't think I am. Being a civvie's not a luxury the human race has anymore."

Tisiphone pops the small handful of pills into her mouth and drinks down her glass of 'milk' in one go, shuddering at the end of it as if it had been cod-liver oil. She chases it immediately with several gulps of water. "Relying on what Lucky has to say? Yeah, how's /that/ working out for you?" She rolls her eyes mildly at Daphne. After a mouthful of shredded wheat she says to Kulko, still chewing, "Think if we're pretending crop-dusters can fly a Viper, we're probably also dealing with something like, oh, Commander Oberlin and XO Kulko."

"Don't joke about that. Tillman's got me memorizing launch codes in case he has a stroke or whatever," Kulko replies, deadly serious and none too thrilled about the prospect. "But with the Vipers? If'n you ask me, the sooner we start trainin' em, the better. Would you rather put twenty planes in the air, or thirty? Forty? There's five hundred people down there, I'd reckon at least that many of 'em have flown before. Get em' in the sims ASAP."

"It's a lot of speed. I could already fly when I went to flight school. They pulled six months off of my training for that and let me vacation on Virgon. The other eighteen months were pure hell, though." Daphne peers at her mug as if wishing it could magically refill itself. The girl didn't have anything else for breakfast, so this is probably to be expected. "That's the problem. I'm sure one of the adults will cobble together a training regimine of some sort, but you're not going to make up eighteen hours of training. They're going to be stunted as pilots. It's not that I don't agree we have to do it, but it's not going to be good."

Chew. Chew. Che- Tisiphone puts her spoon down and leans back in her chair, folding her arms across her chest as she stares across at Kulko in none-too-pleased of a manner. "So when you said we had it all wrong, we /didn't/ in fact have it all wrong, because you're back on this point again," she says. "Twenty birds, versus twenty birds saddled down with five crop-dusters? Are you seriously trying to convince us that the latter is the smart choice?" She seems faintly distressed at the notion, giving the fresh-minted Jig a Damned Odd Look.

"Damned right it is," Kulko doubles down, meeting the Apostolos Glare. "Same as we're fillin the CMC ranks with warm bodies outta the cargo hold. Every pair of hands needs to get to work. We're /gonna/ have to train pilots eventually. You can't honestly say you'd rather start from scratch than take someone with even a lil' experience?"

Daphne closes her eyes for a moment, and then opens them to look at her clipboard. It's as though she didn't write this stuff herself, though she clearly did. The pen's clipped to the top of the damned thing. "Depends if they learned bad habits or not, really. We're not saying it's bad to start with people who can already fly. We're saying that they're going to be liabilities no matter what you do."

"You can train a ten year-old to be a soldier, Stephen, when push comes to shove." Tisiphone is Unamused, and maybe getting a little heated. "Private Trista was a full-fledged marine and she was, what, all of nineteen? These are vastly different skill sets. You're digging yourself into one beaut of a pit, here. But- whatever." She holds her hands up in a sort of 'I surrender' gesture. "Between you wanting to conscript crop-dusters and the XO saying he doesn't have a clue about Viper tactics in one breath and then telling us how to fly in the next, it's gonna be an interesting end of the world."

"Then it's up to y'all to turn em into assets. Simple as that." Kulko shrugs. "Cause we sure can't just let the Air Wing waste away into nothin'. Without you an' your birds, we're sunk." He leans forward conspiratorially, keeping his voice low. "Godsdamnit, Tis, if it were up to me I'd be down there passin' out uniforms yesterday. The fact that they haven't already joined up is a lil' bit sickening. Ain't no 'civilians' anymore. We're all just human, and every human oughtta stand up and fight."

"That's what I said. I said it to the reporter living in the pilot bunks and I said it to Lucky." notes Daphne with a shrug. "Sawyer said she's not military material and that she can do the most good 'reporting'. Lucky told me not everyone is fit for duty and that most people are unknown factors. I think both of them are as nutty as a pecan pie, but what do I know? I'm an army brat."

"I dunno." Tisiphone looks at Kulko for a long moment, then turns the sleety look upon Daphne. Her fellow pilot is scrutinized uncertainly, as if she's reconsidering her disagreement now that her tablemates' ideas are parallel to eachother. "They're not military. They don't /want/ to be military. How effective has forced conscription /ever/ been? They're a resource, I agree, but. They need to be /that/, not a liability, whatever's done with them."

"She wants to talk? Put a headset on her and stick her in CIC. We can find a job for everyone… but camping out in the hangar bay ain't exactly bein a productive member of society. Such as it is." Kulko takes a long draught of the now-lukewarm coffee. "Look, the last thing my Pops wanted me to do in the Twelve Colonies was join up. Said he'd rather die than see his son go fight for the tax man. But you know what? He knew an honest day's work and weren't afraid to get his hands dirty. If he were here…" At this Stephen loses his train of thought for a long few moments, staring into his coffee. He finishes with far less enthusiasm than he started. "If he were here he'd be the first in line. You get these people out there, show them the toasters don't care whether you're in uniform or not? Reckon they'll get the hint quick enough."

"Liability or not… maybe I'm just lacking understanding, but I can't imagine not signing up right now. I've lost so much respect for civilians. We shouldn't need to vacate the raptor barracks to make room for all the civies. Frakking freeloaders just waiting around while we kill ourselves. I mean, you realize what they really are, right?" Daphne looks up, "They're breeding stock. That's all they are right now. They're here to frak and make babies. How would you feel about being breeding stock? I don't know about you, but I'd ask where I sign really fast, even if I wasn't military minded."

How would Tisiphone feel about being breeding stock? She sort of chuckle-sputters on a mouthful of shredded wheat, then clears her throat repeatedly and takes another gulp of water to settle things down. "We don't have the resources to lock everyone in maintenance closets until they start shagging," she points out with a bubble of sudden amusement, a crooked grin and headshake aimed down at her cereal. "We bugger off, find ourselves a habitable planet? Frak, yeah. Have at, folks."

"Maybe so, but I think by the time those babies are old enough to fly a Viper this war'll be won or lost, one way or another," Kulko predicts grimly as he rises from his seat and picks up his tray. "Either we're gonna lay some nuclear hate down on whatever Gods-forsaken planet the Cylons call home, or the ferryman's gonna catch up to us all. Save your babymakin' till it's over; in the meantime we need all hands on deck. If'n you'll excuse me, I gotta get back to my homework."

"Do I have to, -sir-?" Daphne places emphasis on the word, smirking at Kulko, though her tone is a mixture of flirt and of annoyance. "Superior officers in uniform juet get me so hot and bothered and I just don't know what I'd ever do." Fingers clasp together in something approximcating mock rapture. "I should probably get back to the video room and watch myself get shot down for the hundredeth time. I have all the lines memorized now."

"I'll catch you later, Stephen," calls Tisiphone to Kulko as he stands up, watching him for a few steps as he moves off. She shakes her head slightly, amused exasperation clear on her face as she turns back to Daphne. "You know what he said the other night?" she says. Her voice is probably too quiet to carry. "He actually said 'back when I was an Ensign'. Like it's been frakking /months/ since his promotion."

Daphne rolls her eyes, "Nearly gets half of us frakking killed and he gets promosted. That's some serious bullshit right there." She stands and turns towards the exit, "I really need to review this again. Trying to see exactly what I could've done differently. I'd say it's killing me, but that's probably the wrong phrase to use."

"Leave a copy of it down there if you want, hey?" Tisiphone chases a spoonful of shredded wheat around in her bowl. "Professor Bell and I will give it a look when we get in there tonight." She has at least one more week of staring at flight footage in front of her. "Sometimes it's fresh eyes that'll spot it better."

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