PHD #271: Decisive Impulse
PHD #271: Decisive Impulse
Summary: Khloe attempts to inform Pallas that his flying was impulsive, but in traditional Pallas fashion he throws off authority.
Date: 24 Nov 2041 AE
Related Logs: Do You Want My Job?, EVENT - Trashed
Khloe Pallas 
Ready Room - Deck 7 - Battlestar Cerberus
With the hatches at the rear of the room, the walkways on both sides slope down towards the dais at the front of the room. The stadium seating forms a partial semi-circle around the speaking podium and provides enough seats for all three hundred members of the Air Wing. The walls are adorned with the patches of each squadron aboard and their mottos stenciled in white lettering above each one. Behind the podium is a set of large LCD screens that can display any matter of material from reconnaissance to maps to gun camera footage.
Post-Holocaust Day: #271

Khloe is standing near the dais, arms folded around her midsection, facing away from the entry hatch. A plastic clipboard, shattered in half, lies on the floor behind her, as well as several sheets of paper and a pen. A plain manilla folder, containing a variety of records, sits unmolested atop one of the chairs in the front row. She makes no mention of noticing Pallas' entry.

Pallas asses the state of the room with one dispassionate glance and stands in the hatchway for a moment. He almost mirrors Khloe's stance, except his arms are folded across his chest. "So," he says conversationally, leaning against the frame of the entrance. "What'd the clipboard do to piss you off? Besides existing, I mean."

Khloe casts a glance over her shoulder, scowling and stony-faced. "That was the end-result of my last meeting," she offers, her voice fairly neutral so far. "Come in, Lieutenant. We have things to talk about." She turns and takes the few steps closer to the clipboard, and begins to gather it and the papers up. At a glance, they appear to be transfer orders.

Pallas raises an eyebrow at Khloe's words. "Do we, Captain?" he asks. "Well, then." He strolls into the room and sits down in the front row - not in one of the chairs, but on the back of one with his feet on the seat. "Those don't look like medal recommendation papers to me," he comments, indicating the clipboard she just picked up.

"No," she replies, straightening up to her full height. The papers get crumpled up into a ball. "They were transfer orders, for Lieuteannt Duncan. I gave him an opportunity to take my job. He politely refused." She then half-turns to set the rubbish down on the dais.

"Oh," Pallas says mildly. "That was pretty stupid of both of you." Hunched forward and braced against his knees in a perched position, he watches Khloe intently. Even though his face remains completely impassive and his gaze neutral, his eyes never leave her for even a second. "If Drips got transfer orders, what clever little ruse have you got cooked up for me, Poppy? Release papers? Charges? Re-assignment? Or just a kick to the balls?"

Khloe levels her gaze at Pallas; it's clear that she's already getting angry, but she's keeping it stowed, for whatever reason. "No. Nothing dramatic," she confesses. "Lieutenant Duncan's disobeying of orders was far more grave than you going off half-cocked in a combat situation. While you didn't specifically ignore my orders, you acted rashly - and because of that, you and Sweet Pea and Skeeter might've died, instead of just Sweet Pea and Skeeter." She rolls her shoulders, and tilts her head to either side, finally illiciting a satisfying crunch. "So, as you put it, just a kick in the balls."

"'Acted rashly'?" Pallas echoes, voice dripping with contempt. "Clearly, you were seeing something completely different from me." He unfurls himself and sits up straighter, which brings his sitting height a full head taller than Khloe standing. "Sweet Pea and Skeeter would be floating out there in several frakking pieces had I not pushed them out. And if you think I would've stayed to die with them had I not gotten them out in time, then you must've started back up on the morpha." He cocks his head and returns her gaze. "So what do you get for not following your wingman into a 'combat situation'? Not to mention that embarrassing display of shooting out there. I was more liable to die by your frakking rounds hitting my bird or the Gods-be-damned bomb than I was from anything else."

Khloe nods slowly, eyes burning and her body tensing. But she doesn't let it reach her voice. "To leave your wingman is a death sentence for the both of you," she says, jaw tight, but voice even. "I would be a hypocrite if I advocated for anything else other than sticking with your wingman, since I lectured Drips about the same issue. But he chose to disobey my orders. I would not attempt to fix a wrong with another wrong. This is about heroics. This is about getting yourself killed when you think you're doing the right thing."

Pallas nods slowly the moment that the word 'hypocrite' leaves Khloe's lips. "You would be a hypocrite," he agrees. Though it's said in a snide tone that suggests that he thinks she is one, he doesn't follow it up with any other comment as such. "And this isn't about heroics, Captain. You don't know your pilots if you think I have a heroic bone in my frakking body. I didn't get myself killed, much to your disappointment, and I did the right thing, much to your dismay. I made my risk assessment, used my instinct and experience, and saved two officers and a Raptor from destruction." His eyes are still focused directly on hers, never breaking that eye contact for a moment. "This is about you, not me. It's written clear as day in your tensed-up body language and you calling me 'Lieutenant'."

There's that tell-tale twitch at Khloe's temple that indicates that she's about to break her cool. But, for some reason, she's maintaining. "You're probably right, on some level," she admits to him, maybe to his surprise, and maybe not. "If it's any consolation to you, I was planning on doing precisely what you did. But it was my call to make. You were just quicker than I, because you fly on impulse. You're a very impulsive person. And I'm not." She steps forward, not to strike at him, although the tension in her arm may indicate she'd love to. But she instead takes up the manilla folder. "I can't officially discipline you or warn you for what you did. But I can promise that if you keep up with the impulsive crap, I will ground you." No anger in her voice, no malice. "You can feel free to go to the CAG if you like, if you really think this is about me."

"I will, since that's my right and you support it," Pallas says in a saccharine voice. "It's not any consolation to me, since you mention it, because you don't understand one crucial distinction: impulsive and decisive. I acted immediately and decisively when I sensed the threat. If I hadn't backed up my Viper before the signal started frakking my systems, I would've died out there along with Sweet Pea and Skeeter. If I hadn't moved to push the Raptor out of the way, they would've died. You can give me all the I-meant-to's and hypotheticals you want, but I gave you hard frakking results." He finally moves down out of his seat and stands toe-to-toe with Khloe. "I disobeyed no orders. I saved two lives from needless destruction. My reasoning and actions were sound. I escaped unscathed." He counts off each item with his fingers as he goes. "That, Poppy, is what I call my success. Whereas you?" Those fingers get closed up again into a fist. "Couldn't even clear a frakking escape vector for us and took no helpful actions in a timely manner. So threaten me again, Captain. Tell me you'll ground me."

"Have a victory drink for me, Spiral," comes Khloe's even reply. Oh, but she's boiling inside, a pressure-cooker ready to light off. "Dismissed." And she keeps toe-to-toe, eye-to-eye with the man.

"Dismissed?" Pallas asks in a low voice. "Is that it, Poppy? The Lieutenant won't play the yes-sir game and says what you don't want to hear, so you say the magic word. Dismissed." He shakes his head with a condescending chuckle. "Well. That's your privilege, whether I support it or not. Just as you don't have to explain yourself or refute anything I just said." He stands there staring blankly into Khloe's eyes for a little bit longer, then steps back and salutes. It's executed with perfect form, but there's still mockery in every muscle of his body.

Khloe returns the salute, eyes narrowed, just long enough to be proper. Her gaze doesn't falter, as if she could bore straight through his skull with her sight. No more words for him, only quiet seething.

Pallas lowers his salute, gives Khloe what can only be rightfully described as the biggest sarcastic shit-eating grin in the universe, and stalks out of the room.

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