PHD #363: Dangerous Propositions
Dangerous Propositions
Summary: A driven Marine asks a high favor from a pilot she barely knows.
Date: 24 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: A few?
Leyla Vandenberg 
Its cold and there are dead people.
Post-Holocaust Day: #363

After asking around, Van was finally able to pinpoint where Lieutenant Aydin had gone to. She almost didn't follow the direction but in the end decided it was for the best. Stepping into the morgue, the Marine is in her duty browns - complete with gunbelt. The Marine doesn't even look for Leyla just yet. This is hallowed ground. The souls who wait in passing. Her head dips and she whispers to herself in quiet prayer for a few moments before falling silent. Her head, nor her eyes, rise from reverence for the dead.

Despite the fact that it might be considered improper, Leyla's positioned herself on the only available seating, settled on an empty autopsy table beside the lockers the house the two Harriers KIA. Henry on her right, Mara on her left. They're no longer in their bags, though there's been no attempt made to divest them of their flight suits, save to remove their helmets, such as was possible. With Henry, yes, with Mara no. Gruesome would have been the result if they had tried that just now. And the Lt in question is sitting crosslegged on the table, hands folded palm up in her lap, one on top of the other. "What can we do for you, Lt?" Leyla doesn't turn enough to see Vandenberg's face, but she recognizes the voice. And yes, she said we. There are, after all, three people currently in the room, as it were.

Van lifts her head and eyes to look to Leyla. She then looks to the other two bodies and feels a cold shiver. She could be in here any time now. This is very obviously not someplace a Marine comes without good reason. "I'm sorry to disturb you, Lieutenant Aydin. There is something I wanted to talk to you about. I don't want to disturb your time with your comrades though. Would it be alright to talk now or would you prefer someplace else?" She moves no closer, she pays no flippancy nor direct respect to the dead just yet.

"Now is as good a time as any. They won't mind." This is the time of watching, of waiting, singing and speaking, reminding the dead of who they were and where they are going. "They are only waiting a little while, before they make the journey across the great ocean. What did you want to talk to me about?"

The Marine looks a bit awkward as she steps forward. With how the Raptor pilot is seated, its a little unnerving. She produces a small plastic bag from her pocket with one hand and keeps the other hand clasped. "I, ah. I normally reserve this for my Marines. Its not often we can bring pilots back." Burial rights. Soil for the body. In her other hand is probably a few coins of silver so they might pay their toll across the Styx. "Don't know if you want someone like me giving this." She clears her throat and holds out both hands towards the other officer. "Sir, I wanted to talk to you about something pertaining to our last discussion. About the knife, the Gods, and our future."

Leyla looks away from the two people lying on the drawers, and down to Vandenberg's hands. She recognizes the accoutrements, even if she doesn't believe in them. "Better you than me. I have never believed in the Gods. If I were to take those, it would be disrespectful to both of them. And the gods, if they exist." Leyla clearly doesn't believe, but she doesn't feel the need to convince other people not to believe, "Have you found something else?"

Natalie listens to the other woman with a silence that cuts through the buzzing of the overhead lights. She eventually nods, but doesn't immediately respond other than a simple "Not really". She turn to the ECO first. Important things come first. The baggies is opened and some dirt taken between fingers as she quietly whispers a prayer. Its sprinkled over the flightsuit from top to bottom. Its a very caring, devoted movement. Its obvious Natalie has done this before. She then opens her palm and removes a pair of coins. Rather than placing them over their eyes, she tucks one neatly into the top of each boot. "Hermes be swift," she sighs. The whole setting, taking less than a minute, is repeated over the pilot before she bits her lower lip. Sometimes it is just easier to say goodbye to those who never return. A steeled breath later she looks back to Leyla and returns the baggie to her pocket. "What I'm looking for is something of a hypothetical, Lieutenant. You can take it how you want but I want you to understand that this scenario I'm presenting is designed to save lives. Especially those here."

Out of respect, not for the rites themselves, persay, but rather, for the Marine LT and her respect for the rites, as well as the people who are having them done, Leyla looks away as Natalie begins, focusing her eyes on her hands still in her flight suit. Still covered with the grime and grit and other horrid unmentionables she picked up when she was holding Mara's body. All she offers as snatches of another song, bits and pieces.

E pari rā e ngā tai
ki te ākau.
E hotu rā ko taku manawa.
Aue! Me tangi noa
Ahau i muri nei
Te iwi e
He ngākau tangi noa.

Once, in Taurian, and then, again, in Standard. Whether for Natalie's sake, or for the two Harriers who were from Caprica and Leonis respectively.

The tides surge onto the seashore and my heart aches.
Alas! Weeping without restraint, I am left behind.
Everyone is utterly heart-broken.

As Natalie's words fade and Leyla begins her song, the Marine becomes as stationary as a statue. Its one thing to pay traditional respects to the dead. Its another to hear someone singing. That's normally for funerals - which too often none of the warriors of this fleet ever get. The woman looks as if simply standing there is some sort of insult to their being. She's the outsider. She carries a rifle. She killed Taurian. This isn't- The Marine holds her ground, fighting back the emotion of the song. Slowly her hand lifts in salute, nearly trembling as it holds so sharply in place. When Leyla finishes, her hand comes down just as slow and hold by her side. "I'm sorry to disturb you, Lieutenant. I'm sorry for your loss." What follows is a perfectly executed about-face. It couldn't be more precise if executed on a drill field. Purposeful steps take her -right- for that hatch.

"There's no point in leaving now, Lieutenant, they're not here. Their wairua are off and wandering, revisiting the places they loved best. I am only tiding them over until the third day, when they will depart for whatever heaven they envisioned for themselves." Leyla straightens, turning to the side to regard the woman, "Or they might be gone already. They were not Taurian, but I can only do what I have been raised to do." A beat. "What was this hypothesis you wanted to ask me to consider?"

Vandenberg stops at the hatch with Leyla's words. She's almost reaching for it to leave and her hand even finds the handle. It rests there for a few long moments as the Raptor pilot's words linger on her back. "We do our best for our loved one's," she whispers. Leyla may not even hear it. But she turns with her hand dropping to look at the only other live soul in the room. Its with some effort she clears her throat. Seeing the two shattered aircrew.. You can get used to bullet holes and dismembered limbs but fire and freeze are two that will apparently faze this woman until death. "I-" Ahem. "If you thought that you could prevent this? If you thought that by risking you own life it could stop this." Her eyes finally lift to Leyla as the Marine straightens. "If you could lay it all on the line. Your own life for theirs just for the chance that it might save future lives. Would you do it?" She swallows again. "How far could you go, Lieutenant?"

Leyla is silent, neither defensive or offended, at the question. Or the comment. But when the question finally comes, there's no hesitation, no momentary need to weigh the pros and cons and decide which course seems best. There is only the only answer she could give to the question, "Of course." As if it were a foregone conclusion, which, for her it might well be, "Their lives before mine. My life to save one, or to save a thousand." There really isn't anything else to say but that. Just the truth.

Vandenberg lifts her chin slightly, holding her thoughts rather than her gaze steady upon the woman with her in this room. "I know the feeling, Lieutenant. We've lost too many already. Words, wishes, and prayers won't bring back what we've lost." She swallows. "Look." Bated breath finds her as she takes a step back towards Leyla. "If I thought I could prevent this. If I- If a Marine thought she could lead a team in something that nobody else believed in." Careful. "If a Marine thought she could save many lives by doing something highly illegal and against the wishes of command.. would you help her? Even at risk to your own future?"

"That would depend entirely on what you wished to do. If I believed in it as strongly as you do, then yes, I would fly you there." Leyla's quite sure it's not her great interpersonal skills that Vandenberg is interested in, because if it is, she is barking way up the wrong tree. "If I believed in my heart that it was the right thing to do, the right way to go about things, then yes. I would."

The Marine takes a deep breath. This is tough. Especially between the bodies. It might not mean much to Leyla but its obviously effecting the Marine. "Lieutenant? I- This investigation has taken me places. I've been shut down by someone at a high level myself and others suspect may be a traitor. I have been ordered by Pewter to pursue my investigation to any lengths necessary." She steels herself. "We stand. We fight. We die. Around us, we've both seen people fall that never should have. Meanwhile this fleet runs around in circles." The Marine is starting to be overcome. "I know where we can find answers and direction, Lieutenant. I know so strongly that I have a team of Marines willing to give up our lives in this pursuit. All volunteers. We know in our hearts that this is the right direction. That if we continue to sit wander around like this that we will all lose our brothers and sisters to these cold metal slabs. These fates that are far too rare a gift - if you can call it that." She tries to clench her jaw as she speaks about the two aircrew. "I have a team ready to jump on Gemenon, Lieutenant. We know what we need to do. We're ready to lay down our lives for this fleet. We just need a ride." So there it is.

Yes, it might seem decidedly strange, that Leyla doesn't seem disconcerted by the presence of the dead. Treating them, rather, as though they were simply two silent participants in the conversation. And perhaps, after the way of taurian mourning tradition, they are, at least in her mind, "I am assuming you wish to make a visit to the falls on Gemenon? Lampridis Falls? That seems to be where most of the cylon activity we have been able to capture on recons seems to be centered. There and at other, rather out of the way sights on Gemenon. Major Hahn has expressed interest in returning to Gemenon to see what can be seen. But even if I were to fly you, I could not do it without an ECO. Certainly I can run the numbers and spool the FTL drive myself, but I cannot run the ECM console and fly at the same time, if we need more than just a jump there and back."

"Lampridis Falls, Lieutenant." Vandenberg takes a slow step closer. "My Marines and I intend to HALO from any altitude possible and make our way there. I can get guns, explosives, and comms to relay intelligence. I know the Major has her own interest there but this would be purely outside the command structure. This is a mission to be carried out not because Command finally makes up their mind." The sheer determination and soul behind the Marine's words can't be ignored. This is a mission she intends to carry out for fidelity. For those lost and who soon could be by inaction. "We do this because nobody else is willing to. We both know what this could mean. Professionally and personally." Her jaw settles as her lips purse. "I came to you because I know yourself and Scaurus understand what this investigation could mean. He is your ECO. I would not go to him without first coming to you, Lieutenant. I've put my entire career in your hands - as well as the careers of some of my most senior NCO's. What you choose to do with this effort on our part is yours, but if we have your blessing, I can talk to Marko."

"If a HALO jump is even possible. You're forgetting the cylon presence there. It might not be possible for us to get in close enough to drop you off. Even if we were go fly in dead stick, they might still see us, and shoot you down before you even hit the ground." And that's not an attempt to dissuade, it's simple fact. I won't betray your intentions, Lieutenant, but I will begin to make an attempt to plot possible course vectors into the area. And try to prep the raptor with as much equipment as we might need. But I will not be able to make up Marko's mind for him. He has a wife to think about, and perhaps soon a family. I have neither a husband, nor any prospect of children, so making my decision is far easier than Marko making his."

"If we die on the way down then we die knowing that we made an effort when nobody else would, Lieutenant. We die as Marines. We die performing a mission that nobody else had the courage to approve. We may be dishonored in our memories but we lived those last moments upholding the values of our Corps." This had to be something impossibly hard for Vandenberg to arrive at. Abandoning the command structure and essentially her entire life for this one chance at a mission nobody else would consider. "I appreciate your not turning us in, Lieutenant. We don't need to be dropped near the falls. We can get our own transport once on the ground. We just need to get close. Several hundred miles would be fine. As for your ECO-" Vandenberg looks to the ECO beside her and back. "When I ask him, I'll remind him of what is at stake. I won't mention your answer unless he asks. But for now, Lieutenant, I thank you. We'll begin our own planning." She stands just a -little- bit taller in this moment, knowing she has outside support. "Do you have any questions for me before I leave?"

"Are you planning to go before or after we take out this new foundry? If we wait until after, we stand a better chance of having a fleet to return home to. To whatever end they put us. If we go before, know that we risk the chance of being lost in space and having no means to find the fleet again. And everything we might have learned will be useless to them and a waste of effort for us." That seems to be the most pertinent question just at the moment. Timing, in times such as these, is more critical than ever."

"I don't intend to pull you all away from your duty to defending this fleet, Lieutenant Aydin." The Marines draws a deep breath, but its strong and sure. "We go after. My devotion to this fleet, like yours, comes before almost anything else. What my Marines and I intend is nothing short of a mission flown for our future and security - to save lives. No, we will jump after. Until then we conduct ourselves as normal. My Marines and I will risk our lives but we intend no further risk upon you or your ECO than would already be incurred. Before we leave I will give radio frequency and encryption details to the Marine XO in a delayed memo. Whatever we find, dishonored or not, will reach this fleet. We will not fail."

"We are all going to make the journey across the ocean, Lieutenant. For us, it is not so much a question of how, but when." She doesn't ask that as a question, it's a simple fact, "Go and speak with Marko, and see what he has to say. And when you have his answer, find me again, and we will do what must be done. And if you have been of me before then, I'm not difficult to find. If I'm not in the air, I'm sitting a ready raptor. And if not there, the berthing." She doesn't do much else but that.

"It is not for ours to question why, but to do and die. Semper Fi, Lieutenant." Vandenberg doesn't say anything else by way of reply. Neither officer is superior right now but she snaps a salute anyway. The slice down is as crisp as a fresh Private out of bootcamp. "I'll be in touch. I won't be if Marko turns us in. Be well, Lieutenant." She then turns and heads for the hatch.

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