PHD #353: Digression
Summary: The ChEng submits a memo in person. One thing does not necessarily follow another.
Date: 14 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: The Dog That Didn't Bark, Past is Prologue, Secondhand, and Stopwatch Heart. Immediately followed by The Untold Story.
Leyla Mark 
Pilot Berths
The battlestar's pilots call this place home. Bunks line the walls with grey curtains to cover their sleeping areas. Lockers sit between each pair of bunks and a round metal table sits in the center, furnished with simple but comfortable steel chairs. A hatch at the rear of the room leads to a communal head.
Post-Holocaust Day: #353

After the constant scrambles in the evenings, Mark is reluctant to actually come by around the afternoons. Thus he waits until the morning to swing by - after everyone is up and back to work. Catch Leyla? Hopefully. He's in his orange coveralls but looks like he's yet to get to work because, by golly, they're clean! Pushing into the room he glances around. "Lieutenant Aydin?" Its not a timid call but the guy isn't looking to wake the dead, either.

Fortunately for the ChEng, most members of the air-wing, as bone-tired as they are, tend to sleep like the dead when not on duty. So short of klaxons blaring, it's rather difficult to wake them. And so it might be the reason why it takes a few moments for the man's call to be answered. Regardless, after a moment, a curtain on the far side of the room pulls back, revealing Leyla's face, eyes drifting to find the face that goes with the voice, "I'm here." A twist and flourish, a move all berthing-bound shippies know, and Leyla steps out of her bottom bunk, pulling the curtain closed behind her. Fresh out of bed, not quite, showered and dressed in off-duty sweats, quite. The only consignment to less than military dress, is her hair, left long and unbraided, straight and a lighter blonde than what can usually be seen. Clearly one of those women who's hair is darker underneath than on top. "What can I do for you, Mark?"

Mark smiles and moves to rest of the way in. "Hey, Lieutenant. Didn't want to disturb you all in the afternoons. I know we've got a lot of insanity going on." He keeps his voice low as not to disturb the others. "Got some things I wanted to pass along. Memos are so impersonal, too. Wanna sit? Not sure if you are about ready to sack out yet. Lords know I am. Just finished a shift. I'm actually tired for once. Go figure, right?"

"You just finished a shift? So you cleaned up and changed clothes before you came to see me?" Leyla tips her head in the direction of her bunk, "Feel free to catch a few in there if it's quicker than going back the way you came. I won't be using it for the next rotation." Leyla does sit though, settling in at one of the tables close to where her bunk rests. Perks of being close to the end of the berthing. "Some things?"

Mark chuckles. "Aye. I did. For a few reasons. Reasons I'm not going to fully go into." He tilts his head with the admission, smirking a little. "And careful, I may take you up on that offer. The guy below me is a pudgy frak from Supply with sleep apnea. The snoring. Oh my dear Gods, the snoring." He follows her to take a seat at the table, leaning on the surface with an elbow. "But yeah, wanted to come by. Uhm, first? We swept the ship for bugs and transmitters as best we could on short notice. That ship is completely dead. If there is a transmitter on it, nothing we have can detect it. It also occurred to me that your Raptor would be better for searching it and you all found nothing. So.."

A nod, nothing more, at Mark's refusal to give reasons. No really her place to ask. That's a DH's prerogative. "I don't make offers I don't intend to abide by. The bunk above me is also free. It's Payback's, but he stays in the crew quarters on the Elpis." There's probably been enough comm chatter that the ChEng would know Payback refers to the current captain of the civilian ship. "And I can assure you, I don't snore." At the results of the scan, Leyla nods, "I can only think of one other thing that might be triggering it. But go on. Did you bring other news?"

"Shit if you don't snore, you're perfect. This guy sounds like he is running a Sawz-all for four hours a night. It wouldn't be so bad if it was regular, but it's not. Not even close." He chuckles, still keeping his voice low. "Besides, my bunk sucks. My mattress is new and feels like I'm sleeping on cardboard. If you aren't using yours, don't tease." It's a friendly remark. He knows she offered. "But hey, if you have any other ideas, let's hear it. I'm open to anything - and yeah I have more news. But it can wait. I'd rather solve this Raider problem first. What's up?"

Leyla's head tilts, curious, before she lifts her shoulders in a shrug, "Use it or not, it's your choice. God knows, it's not as if we have people racing to fill the empty spaces in here." That said, she leaves the previous topic alone, "The cylon they brought back from the Foundry. It occurred to me that that was the other strange occurrence in the last few weeks. Some sort of half machine, half organic cylon that seemed to have been powering the foundry. Or something. And I can't seem to find any record of the raiders actually in there. Did they have an distinctive markings? If that thing is one of their, perhaps they're trying to get it back."

"You should." To the point about filling bunks. The Chief Engineer shakes his head and looks around at the empty ones. Gods. Yikes. That really brings home how finite their lives are. His attention falls back to her. "I didn't catch any kind of evidence of that. At least not from the members of the team I talked to. Of course I doubt they were looking for it. With exploding cranes and shit, the markings on a Raider were probably the last thing they were looking at. It's possible, though. Just as likely as what you are saying. Huh." He looks away. "That's a damned good point. She could be a homing beacon. Sort of like a TACAN that we install on our battlestars so Vipers can find their way home. that's crazy to think about but it might be true."

"Even with the worlds coming to an end, there aren't enough people willing to exchange the possibility of death for the certainty." The Fighting Fourteenth's post-Warday motto isn't Fly and Fight and Die for nothing. "I can't say that I blame them." It's just a fact of life in the wing. "If we think of the foundry as an organic system, that creature seems to have been its heart. And who wouldn't want to get it back? Of course, it does no good if we can't switch it back on to investigate it. But I'm no doctor, and medical is overloaded right now."

"They ought to. If I thought I could stick a Viper I would have volunteered here. Fact is I can do more damage down in Engineering." He shrugs. Everyone has their skillset. "But that's not a bad way to look at it. It makes sense, too. But if this thing is dead? Screw it. Throw it back. Cut it open, take pictures and tissue samples, and throw it back like a dead fish. I don't like the idea of you guys getting run ragged like this." Mark shakes his head and looks back to her. "Also, I wanted to come by and tell you about the Ark. We went on last night to try and power up the systems. Maybe retrieve some data."

"Vipers are all flash and fire. Raptors are the true heart of an air-wing." Spoken like a true raptor pilot. "You would have made a fine ECO. But I think I will just have to accept that the Cerberus would never allow her Chief Engineer to gear up in a flight suit." Sad, really. "I don't like the idea either, certainly not when I'm getting holes shot in my bird. But no knowledge is a waste, and I would hope that medical can get something out of that thing. It's a beautiful synthesis, if you look at it through unclouded eyes. The sort of perfect synergy between man and machine that even we never managed." The mention of the Ark brightens her eyes, and certainly peaks her interest, "Were you able to do anything with it at all?"

"You only say that because Raptors get all the sexy toys." He grins shaking a finger at her. Uh huh. NerdLuv. "And thanks. Heh. Never considered myself ECO material but I do appreciate the compliment. But I suspect you are right. The last thing I'm going to be able to do is go on combat missions. I think they jealously guard me against dangerous activities like..anything possible." Her description of the hybrid gets a lofted brow. "Interesting way to describe it. I'm not sure I would call it beautiful on many levels but I agree it's something we would have never done. Especially if that thing used to be a living, breathing human being." To the last query he shakes his head slowly. "Quite the opposite. We tore up some of those panels? The rats nest of wiring down there would make it impossible. In a few thousand years most of it has become disconnected so we don't even know where most things went. Hell, some of the only intact wiring got fried last night by some jerkoff from Tactical. We stopped work. I'm shutting it down for attempts to route power to the system. The fire went into the floor. One of Damon's boys was able to get something, though. Not sure what it was. Looked like a drive or something."

"Sex sells. At least that's what they used to tell us on television. And in magazines. And trashy romance novels. And porn." See? All good reasons to love flying raptors, "You have a quick mind, an aptitude for electrical systems, and you're fast on your feet. All skills an ECO needs." Leyla's face falls, just a little, as she hears the news, "So we might never know who they were, or what they thought, outside of what we can glean from the books they left behind, if the Chaplaincy can even translate their language." A little bit of a perk up, at the thought of a drive. "Perhaps that will give us a better result. But thank you for trying. I know you had to take time out of your own schedule to chase my hopes." Yes, she does have those, though it seems, not for herself. Others, however…even the long dead, are another story.

"Yeah, well. How dare they exploit base human motivations like procreation and such lovely activities." Mark chuckles and sits back in the chair. He wets his lips, though, and shrugs as he considers all of that. "Maybe. Maybe not. Over the last year I have learned to avoid phrases like 'never' when it comes to what can happen. Certain things may not be possible but I'm slowly learning that even that may be a good set of guidelines to avoid." He flashes his eyes. "We finished Hammerfall testing last night, by the by." Its merely an aside. "But those aren't just your hopes, Leyla. Mine, too. We also aren't done with that ship. There's a lot we can study on it that will help clue us into who and what they were. And there is that thing Bannik pulled out. Exactly what's on it, if anything after all this time, is questionable. Cyrannus puts out a lot of magnetic energy. It could have wiped everything. Don't hope too high. We may very well get nothing."

"Because it is there to be exploited. Believe me, I grew up in an area of Tauron where everything was an expendable commodity, from virginity to money. Abusing each other, and ourselves are what we humans do best." Which might well be a good little nugget of information on how and why Leyla both is and became the way she is, "I will leave it up to your department and the deck and the chaplaincy to salvage what you can. I've done everything I can, in bringing it back." There's an odd tilt to Leyla's expression as the admission of shared hopes, as if it really isn't the sort of thing people actually say to the woman. "Better than having no hope. To hope that the people who need it, will find what they're looking for."

Interesting philosophical point. Mark watches Leyla for the briefest moment before sitting forward again. "True. We exploit to get ahead. To get power. But the other side of one thing you are saying is that sex isn't an expendable commodity. On the surface, it is, but in the most primal areas it's about power for some people. Some. Other people? It's about each other. Careful about sticking sex into a pidgeonhole. It's only abuse under certain conditions." With her last, the man nods slowly while smiling. "Hope is what keeps us going. Think of the ideas that the word 'hopeless' manifests in your head. Desperation, death, desolation. It's a powerful weapon. And it tends to breed some amazing qualities in people. The other side tends to breed the worst. We look at the inside of that Ark and we see dead people. We see people that died in the depths of space, right? Leyla? There wasn't any damage to the ship's interior. No desperate struggles. No blood frozen in the hallways. I believe they died full of hope for themselves."

"I really wouldn't know, from personal experience. My family's position in Derry was enough to see to most of my protection. My own attitude saw to the rest. But from what I have seen, in my own life living on a military vessel, living in these berthings, is that sex, for most people, seems to be as recreational as drinking, as smoking. There really are no emotions involved, outside of the animal need to mate." A light shrug of her shoulders. Clearly things like animal mating really aren't her bailiwick, and as easily set aside as most of the more 'social human interactions.' "Perhaps they did. Or perhaps they went into the night with resignation to their fate. We'll never know, unless we can find their own personal records."

Mark tilts his head, nodding. "That's a pretty sterile view of it, but yeah that's true on a lot of levels. But you also are a member of the Air Wing - and no that's not a dig. From a sterile perspective on that, relationships are also harder for you all due to a combination of factors. Pace of life, shifting deployments, personal risk. But how many higher level officers like Captains and Majors did you know that weren't married? Probably not a lot. Sex could be just a vehicle for personal intimacy. For younger folks, sure, it's also about recreational fun. Eventually you stop behaving like a child, though. There's a damned nice angle to monogomy and a steady relationship. But again, it's something a person has to want and I'm talking about one side. I've been single most of my life. Been happy there." Mark shrugs. By his tone of voice it should be obvious that this is a rhetorical conversation. Nobody is bending arms. "Medical will be able to tell us about resignation of their fates. I'm holding out hope that they were going to sleep banking on waking up the next day." The man can't help a wink. Hope. He's got it.

"My life had to be sterile. It was that or end up either gang-raped or pregnant before I left puberty. Was I willing to use the fear people had for the Aydins to my favour? Absolutely. I might not have known what I wanted then, but I knew I didn't want that. After I left for the Academy, it was neither the time, nor the place. And even less-so now. I've seen what allowing your emotions to get involved results in." There's a decided shake of her head, "You can be personally intimate with someone and not have sex with them. Hell, Bunny and I sleep together most nights when his sleep cycle matches mine, and neither he nor I have any desire to engage in any sort of sexual relationship. He's just Bunny, and Bunny sleeps with everyone, mostly. But he doesn't have sex with anyone." There's a slight narrowing of her eyes, "SO the angle for being married is a steady diet of sexual intimacy?" A snort, before she turns back to thoughts of the Ark, "One of us can be the cynic, the other the optimist."

Mark nods. "All good points. I can't argue about your upbringing. And trying to make a point about relationships in this environment and situation?" The man chuckles. "It's insane. But by that logic, -any- emotional involvement is bad. You going to pretend you have no friends? Going to pretend you don't care about people like Marko? C'mon." He lifts his chin to her. "Hell, I'm not seeing anyone but I've got bonds with most of the people I work with. Is it as strong as intimacy on a sexual level? Probably not. But I wouldn't pidgeonhole that either. I'd give up my life for a lot of people in my department - just like you told me you would for humanity. But I also knew a lot of people that if it really came down to them or their spouse? Their spouse would go. Like you friend Bunny, it's a different understanding of intimacy that comes from inside you. As for marriage being a steady diet of something?" He snorts. "Hell. From my perspective on the outside? I've never seen two marriages that looked the same. People match up for some reason. Maybe they just understand each other. Maybe they hate each other but can't live without - which I've seen, oddly."

Leyla shakes her head, rising from her seat to move over to an empty bunk, pulling back to curtain to reveal the small cage, and the currently sleeping canary there. Clearly, the klaxons and the rush of activity have even worn out Klaxon. "No, I'm not going to say there aren't any people that I care about on this ship. There are quite a few. But that caring only goes so far. It can't go any deeper. I don't feel the depth of emotion that other people do. I just can't. If there's a trick to it, I never learned it. And I've given up trying. I choose not to become involved in sexual liaisons, for just that reason, because at the end of it, I know I would just be using them. Like a piece on a chessboard, discarded when the movement changed." A hand reaches out, touching the canary's cage, before she turns back, shutting the curtain, "I've never really thought that much about marriage. It always seems to hurt more than it heals."

"I'd think it was a combination. Healing and hurting. People are people. Everyone is going to fight. Two perfectly compatible people only exist in movies because you can skip to the good parts and past the arguments about the toilet seat." Mark grins, watching her at the cage. "But that's something that makes you uniquely Leyla. You're a grown woman with your own choices on how you view life. Nothing to disrespect there. Though I suspect if you started reading into yourself - and I'm talking about your tatau - and you were able to realize and feel that beauty you carry around? You might concern yourself less with that claimed empty well inside and more with what you do have in there already. Our brains have a pretty huge capacity to control our emotions - if we want it. You've mastered yours. Same with the CAG, from what I understand. Is she someone you aspire to?"

"And at the end of the world, where everyday seems like the first day. You have a reason to treasure it, because it might be your last. That's not really a realistic scenario either, but people play it out all around us." Leyla returns to the table, settling back into her seat, "I carry about stories, Mark. Most of them belonging to a people long dead. That's not the same as carrying the capacity to feel. I will read their stories to you, and you will hear them, but they will not be my stories. I am only a vessel. A vessel that will always be half empty." There's a smile, faint, not happy, but, amused, "The CAG has not mastered her emotions. Her emotions have simply been put to a standstill. She stopped living when her husband died ten years ago."

"I guess I can see that. Though living each day like it's your last sounds good on paper..yeaaaaah. I gotcha there. I think I'd rather live each day like a day. Just enjoy the damned thing for fear that it sucks. Last days alive are incidentals at this point, I think." He nods along, looking to the floor as he ponders these things. But the mention of the stories has him looking back. He shakes his head. "See? There you go again." A grin. "They are your stories. They chronicle your family going back ages. They make up who you are. While you might have been chosen for that honor, don't confuse that with having to be impartial to their tales. If you want to be half-empty, that's cool. You be yourself. I think you're a hoot and plenty of fantastic the way you are. But!" He holds up one finger. "Think back to the people who taught you the best lessons with stories. Those people that really had an impact on you. Did they tell the story? Or could you feel the story so strongly because they put so much into it themselves? Is your history the type to be shared or experienced? You're the future of it, Leyla. You and those like you who have survived. What you lay down now will, Gods willing, reverberate for generations to come."

"They are my history. But they are not me, Mark. Only a very few, and those only tell of the things I've done, not the person I am." Leyla shakes her head, and just for a brief moment, there's something very close to sadness in her expression, even a trace of disappointment, before it's washed away in the calmness she wears over herself like a cloak. "You said yourself you had no family since the age of about…ten? Did their stories influence you? Make you the person you are today? Or did you make yourself?" Leyla finally rises from her seat, moving back towards her bunk, "It's past time you were asleep. Come…let me read you a story." She's got plenty of those. Her sweats are discarded, folded and settled in her locker, before she pulls back the curtain and climbs back into her bunk.

"Some people would argue that we are our history. Especially these days where it seems so absolutely relevant. And you?" Mark gestures to her. "I think people would love to tell your story. Even to repeat yours. But keeping people at arm's length makes that tough. You might think there's nothing inside, but I think you might be surprised. Try opening up to whomever you're most comfortable with. Just a little bit. Share a memory of childhood that made you smile. Or cry. Or even want to do either. There's no shame there. We live through this? People like yourselves are going to be heroes. Get used to being talked about." Mark tries to hold her eyes for a moment longer before he winks. "And yes. They did. My parents absolutely influenced who I am today. So did yours. Those stories teach us life lessons. Implant morality and ethics at an early age. Its why some are so popular. Who we are today is a byproduct of circumstance, luck, and our upbringing." The man does look like he's getting tired though. When she invites him back to the bunk he's almost surprised but the man just smiles at the idea of a story. This Will Be Cool. "Alright. But no promises about asking for more." He lifts the boots from his feet and moves to climb in with the invitation of an open curtain.

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