PHD #418: Discord and Dropzones
Discord and Dropzones
Summary: Leyla meets Van in Sickbay for planning.
Date: 20 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: Anything Gemenon related.
Leyla Vandenberg McManus 
Small Office in Recovery Ward
Table, chairs, stuff.
Post-Holocaust Day: #418

Into the afternoon of 20 April, word would have been passed via runner to Leyla that Van, still in Sickbay, wanted to speak with the pilot about the mission to Gemenon and bring a few things like a map. With most of the ward emptied but for the most injured folks from the mission five days prior, Vandenberg has been moved to a wheelchair and allowed some privacy in a back office of the Ward where she waits. There is a nurse with her, too, checking her IV's while she waits at a table. The Marine is still battered and bruised with some stitches across her face and bandages still up and down both arms. Her right hand seems to have at least been freed from the restraints of movement. The Marine looks tired, though alert.

For the pilot, and interim SL's part, she looks not much worse for wear. The GSWs to her chest are hidden by her duty greens, the one to her left hand by her gloves. And having had time enough for the one or three baths it likely took to get the stench of the areion out of her hair and off of her skin, well, she looks as business as usual as she ever does, as she steps into the back office, map case in hand, "Lieutenant. The runner said you wanted to see me?"

Vandenberg lifts her head, turning it a bit to look up at Leyla as the woman enters. "Lieutenant Aydin. Thanks for coming." Her smile is a little weak but she means it nonetheless. "This is kind of a test evaluation for conditional release tomorrow for the funeral of our Marines. Gotta behave." She gestures to the table for the map case. "I heard you came down to join the fray on the Areion. Thank you for that. Boosts my spirits to know you've got that bravery stored up. I'd pin something on you if it were my place."

Leyla makes her way over towards the table, removing the maps the S3 requested and unrolling them on the tabletop, "I did what needed to be done. Part of my job as a raptor pilot is to ensure that my personnel have a clear line of retreat back to the raptor. Normally, that would mean providing covering fire at the raptor along with my ECO, but in this instance, I needed to secure an egress point. I didn't have the time to find out if any of the Marines were qualified with the systems. And with the way they sabotaged their own systems to prevent us from boarding, there wasn't any other choice but to take the hard road through the fighting. I don't want a medal for doing my job. That my 141 was able to evac as many as we did is enough."

The Marine nods to the Petty Officer with her. "That'll be all for now. Thanks." The PO2 glances to her and nods before looking to Leyla: "If she passes out or has problems, let me know. I'll be right outside." With that the man disappears out the door and closes it behind him. Vandenberg listens to Leyla speak about her experience with a blank expression, holding her eyes on the pilot's face. "Bullshit, but I understand where you're coming from." There's barely a pause, but its there. "Sometimes I think some of you all should have been born Marines. Yourself and Captain Vakos especially." She takes a breath and looks to the maps. "Hokay, down to business. Have you had a chance to think of ways to try and land us on the ground and guarantee it won't be spotted? Talk to anyone? I know the past week or so has been insane so no hard feelings if not. I've been busy myself."

"Of course, Petty Officer." Leyla passed first aid, she knows how to spot things going down hill. The S3 should be relatively safe. Mostly. "I had an instructor once who told me…'There are no sailors in the Colonial Navy. Every one of you who wears the uniform is a soldier.' Anyone who forgot that usually ended up with his boot up their ass. Poppy, however, would make a terrible Marine. She'd be much too inclined to pass her days beating people about the head and shoulders." Some humour there, as the pilot considers her BFF. "I've reviewed the area with all of the resources we have at our disposal. There are no clear places to put down except within the confines of the town. I would imagine that was originally one of the reasons for building the complex where they did."

Vandenberg's smile quirks a little more towards a laugh but she stops herself. "Good instructor. If you tell that to a lot of Marines, though, they might be offended. Careful. But Khloe?" Natalie looks away and back to the maps, obvious fondness there. "I do the same thing. Hard to fault her for something I do myself." She wets her lips and uses her right hand and left forearm to push herself closer to the table. There's a long breath and a nod. "Okay, so we are almost certainly looking at a jump. I want to keep this team small - five people. Now, it is absolutely essential that the Cylons not even suspect that anyone from this battlegroup is among them or watching them. The more suspicion we draw, the more questions they will ask themselves. The biggest one I want to avoid from them is 'Why'. So what kind of flight profiles are we looking at? We'll need to be as close as you can get us to three hundred feet. Slower is better."

"That's because most Marines walk around with their dicks in their hands, ready to throw them down on a table along with the measuring tape. They're bred to be arrogant, and they make an art out of looking down their noses at anyone who isn't a marine themselves. They rarely if ever stop to think about the fact that it's the Navy that gets them where they need to be, that fights at the front lines in space and in the air. And we don't do it with a platoon behind us. At the end of the day, we fly alone and we often die alone." None of that is said with condescension. It's simply a fact. A reflection of how Leyla perceives Marines. "And anyone who wants to argue that point with me, after the way the Colonel and the DHs acquitted themselves on the ground will get the barrel of my sidearm up their nostril." Beware the wrath of Leyla, if she should find out anybody has anything bad to say about old Pewter and the gang. "I've laid out a few entry points, but you'll need to figure out which one will work best for you." one of the maps from underneath, more of an overlay, since it's transparent, is pulled out, and set down over the topographical map of the Falls and the surrounding area. "There are possibilities here, here and here. It all depends on how much you want to risk on the entry."

Vandenberg stares at Leyla as she goes on with 'facts' about the Marines. "So essentially you all get to decide the facts about the Corps and nobody gets to argue it, even those who are Marines? Relax, Lieutenant. I'm not here to make enemies and I'm in no condition to fight. Just.." She lifts a hand, leveling it gently in the air above the table as if urging someone to settle. "We've lost enough. I don't want anymore bad blood than you probably do." There's a long breath and the hand drops to her chair. She reaches around with her right hand and takes up an oxygen mask to help her catch up. "My main concern is security. As I said, those Cylons think for one second one of us is watching them, its over. We can pack up and go home. We can afford some risk to it as long as the most secure route is taken. Its not going to be a long jump but as long as we aren't landing on rock scree, I think we should be okay. We- we aren't dropping on screen anyplace are we?"

"Did you not just decide the facts about the Navy when you implied that you were pleased that I had enough bravery to actually join your Marines in their ground battle? That Poppy and I should be marines, because we have a few marine-like qualities? When you said I should be pinned for doing something any soldier should be ready and willing to do? There has always been a divide between the Marines and the Navy. We are both bred to think of ourselves as the best, to think that we do things the other would never have the heart to do. I look at the Marines as a Naval Officer, you look at the Navy as a Marine officer. And that is a chasm no amount of gear can cross. It's neither good nor bad, it simply is what it is. There are those who perpetrate the stereotype, and those who break the mold." Still, she doesn't seem that upset at all, and moves easily enough away from the argument of ideologies. Again, it's an argument of philosophies. And clearly has nothing to do with how she perceives this particular Marine. "No, all of the landings are on rough terrain, but given the risk of damage to equipment and personnel from the loose rock, not to mention the noise and the added work needed to get onto solid ground, I decided against them."

Van holds the mask to her face while Leyla speaks, her eyes lidding and the Marine eventually looks away. The Marine Officer who never backs down from a fight doesn't offer more than a token protest after her last. "You're inferring a lot more than was meant." Leyla may not be offended but its obvious the Marine is. She doesn't look so much put-off as just.. sad. She stares at the maps on her own for a few long seconds of silence, the wind apparently gone from her sails and energy sapped. "Fair enough. We'll need to be dropped anywhere from five to ten miles out. It will depend on altitude. The close to town, the lower we need to be. The cliffs should provide us with visual protection, though. What's the lowest altitude you would risk jumping into? How long would it take you to get from there to three hundred feet or so?"

"As long as the field for the FTL was kept in close, so as to cause as little disturbance to the ground as possible, I could get you in under 300 feet if you needed it. It's much easier to plot a jump above a relatively stationary target. Such as a planet. The displacement field for a raptor is negligible, compared to that of a battlestar or other large vessel. It's really not the jump that's the issue, it's making certain that any recon they have around won't pick up on our entry. or our departure. But it's doable. Once you decide on where you want to put down. I can also check with the deck about having the raptor repainted for stealth operations. We don't often make use of the camo paint, but we should still have stores of it on the ship."

"Three-hundred feet will be about optimal for our chutes to open and give us minimal time in the air. We don't have time to accelerate much on the way down." Van keeps her eyes on the map, voice low. "Is there a reason why you don't want the Raptor to be detected? I'm assuming that it would be. There's no reason you all couldn't fly right over downtown once you drop us out the door. If we try and muck up a Raptor to make it stealth, and it fails, that brings up the question again: Why are they trying to hide a Raptor?" She pauses to catch her breath. "Probably to do something sneaky. Like land Marines. ..Then that scrubs the mission. I say we just keep it open book. The only thing covert would be the drop. Unless the wing is averse to spend much time flying there again for some reason?"

"The question could also be asked, if they're on the up and up, why didn't they just jump in close to the complex in the first place, why come from so far away? Especially when we told them we would return to the same location from which we left? That argument could go either way. But as far as I know, Toast approves of a return to Gememon to see what can be seen there of the cylon and human presence there, and to ascertain the meaning of the information that was transmitted to my raptor before we jumped back to the Cerberus."

"The reason is because we can't afford to have Raiders see us jump. If they are expecting us at a certain location, likely they will be waiting there. They might also have air defense radars pointed right at those coordinates, waiting to blast the Raptor out of the sky for some reason which we don't even know about. Its easy to blame missed coordinates on.. I dunno. Something. If it ever comes up. They may not even care." Vandenberg continues looking at the maps, her right hand folded neatly over her bandaged left in her lap. "Sounds good. So just fly a recon over the temple and town if you want once we leave. No sense wasting a mission. Might even see something we can't. Our focus will be on surveillance with the town. The temple isn't going to house all those people when there is a town not too far away."

"I'm aware of the need to mask the marine jump, that is why I suggested the camo paint. Jump in, drop the marines, jump out again. Don't give them a reason to come looking at where we came from. But this is your mission. Your people who will be on the ground. It's on you to decide what exactly you need from the raptors, to give your people the best advantage on the ground." There's a moment, when Leyla looks as if she's considering pulling a cigarette out of her pocket, but a glance to the pure oxygen Van's toting around anf she seems to decide against it. "It's your job to tell us what you need, ours to find a way to get it done."

Vandenberg shakes her head easily. "If the Raptor keeps a straight flightpath while we are jumping and maintains it toward the target, there's no reason to suspect a jump. If they did and tried to search the area? The team will be packing light. It will be long gone before anything arrives there." She takes another breath and slumps a bit in the chair. "I think that's about it. I can get you a final selection on our ingress before I go to the CAG. Any questions for me?"

"Not at the moment. I might once you decide on an egress point, so that I can plan the exact point of the jump and the speed at which I need to fly to give all of your team a good chance to land on relatively safe ground. But in this case, I'm just a bus driver. I don't need to know more than that." Leyla doesn't take the maps with her, though, unless Van asks her to. You have to have something to work on while you're locked in sickbay.

"We'll probably do a water extraction if its necessary for us to be removed. Something by the side of the lake. Tha'ts.." Vandenberg's face twitches. She hasn't had much life to her since Leyla said what she had about the Marines. "El-tee, before you go?" Those eyes stare at the maps, but don't seem to be actually looking at them. "Did you mean what you said about the Marines? About us being arrogant and needing to measure? Is that generally how the Wing views us?" She finally lifts her gaze back to Leyla. Its not angry- more concerned if there's any kind of inflection to be had.

"I'll make sure the raptor is loaded out with the right gear for it, in case it becomes necessary. Though with those raiders playing in the water, who knows if we'll be able to get close without being seen." Leyla's just about to head out of the room, when Vandenburg's question stops her short. A turn, back to face the woman, not much smaller than Leyla herself, which is small indeed. The two are almost of a kind, with their similar builds, blonde hair and skin tone. Even their eyes are similar, though Natalie's are in the green, and Leyla's are hazel. One could be forgiven for thinking they could be related, after a fashion. "I have never taken it upon myself to speak for the entire wing. But, in my time in service, that is generally how I have known the Navy to perceive the Marines. As a whole. Bully boys who like to wave their rifles around, and thump their chests. Who look at the Navy as nothing more than a means to an end. Glorified bus drivers to get them from point A to point B." There's a slight turn of her lips, "Of course, it's not as though the Navy does not attempt to perpetuate the rivalry. During my last year at the Academy, some unnamed group of midshipmen went around and plastered bumper stickers to all of the Marine middies dorm doors that read: 'M A R I N E = My Ass Really Is Navy Equipment.'"

McManus has arrived.

Van doesn't smile or turn her expression in any way. She's silent for a few seconds, the Marine holding her eyes on Leyla before looking back down. "We're not of the same opinion." She clears her throat and takes a breath. "I'll amend it to my notes then, Leyla. Thank you for the time. I'll keep the maps with me. I appreciate it. We-" Van twitches her face, probably involuntarily. "We have a funeral for the twenty-six Marines killed tomorrow night. I'm going to say a few words after Pewter. I would appreciate it if you'd give it a listen or perhaps attend. Beyond that, I think we're done here." She uses her bandaged left and 'good' right hand to start rolling the maps up from her wheelchair.

"Yes, I know that. That is why Poppy thinks so highly of you." A beat, "As do I. That is why when you lead your marines, I will be flying the raptor that gets you there. Because I know that of the marines on this ship, you are the best of them. The standard to which all other Marines should aspire. You do not search for glory, or want praise. You put your people before yourself. And you never ask anyone to do anything you would not be willing to do yourself. That is why I will be there to honour those who gave their lives so that my tahu could come back to me. So that all of those we lost could come home again." Leyla slips out, quietly back into sickbay.

McManus was lurking or something, presumably, and as Leyla exits, so he holds the door for her politely, clearing his throat. "Are you finished your business, sir? I didn't want to disturb you, but…" He leaves the rest unsaid, offering an almost apologetic shrug of one shoulder instead.

Leyla has left.

Vandenberg, still bandaged and stitched together, listens to Leyla's remarks and manages to hold herself together until the pilot has left the room. She's barely managed to get the maps rolled before she's hunched forward, little convulsions striking her as she staves away the tears. That movement has to hurt with all the wounds she's taken. But she sits in silence for a few moments like that before gathering the maps into her lap and trying to roll herself away from the table and out the door. Not easy with one good hand and part of the other arm.

McManus pokes his head into the doorway, clearing his throat once more. "If you'd rather I came back later, sir, I can move my schedule around and see to somebody else first?" he suggests mildly. "Are you managing, sir?"

Vandenberg's face is wet with tears and she continues trying to shove the chair around with the maps in her lap, making for the door after bumping into the table. "I'm managing," she sighs angrily, finally giving one last shove and getting her chair through the doorway and moving off towards her nearby bed.

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