PHD #087: Duty and Honor
Duty and Honor
Summary: Tillman tells Cidra about the evidence against Abbot. Decisions are made.
Date: 24 May 2041 AE
Related Logs: Leonis, Cylons, …MUTINY
Cidra Tillman 
Ready Room
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: #87

Tillman wouldn't have called for a meeting. Just a running to pass a note. 'Ready Room. Ten minutes. -XO' and that's it. So indeed, the man is already there and waiting when Cidra arrives. He's standing at the front of the room with his arms clasped in front of him. The man looks fairly intense. Not angry like the prior night in the same room. More..restrained aggression. He's already shut off the phones in the room, too.

Cidra arrives promptly, in duty greens rather than flight gear or blues. She's not straying far from the flight deck this day, engaged in a good many duties that don't precisely involve working a Raptor stick. Stop, straighten, salute. "Major Tillman. As requested."

"As you were, Major." Tillman meets her eyes. "Cid, I can't tell Abbot about Quinn and its going to become very clear why." The man takes a long breath. "Look, there's no easy way to say this so I'll just say it." A pause. "I have good cause to believe that Admiral Michael Abbot is our Cylon collaborator in CIC. Evidence from our end includes him in the list of suspects, along with myself as per my orders to Major Cavanaugh. However, Lieutenant Sophronia passed me a report from Lieutenant Kulko that explicitly identifies Abbot. And more 'traitors'. Though that term may not be completely accurate."

Cidra relaxes, blue-gray eyes narrowing at Tillman when the first thing he mentioned is Quinn. She sighs. "I do hope all this cloak and dagger is not fully in regard to your personal life…" she begins, before he's gotten the rest of it out. Once he starts in on the more ominous business, however, she trails off. Brows arching. She does not seem to know at all what to make of this. "Lucky and Lieutenant Kulko received this from a source you trust? Were I the enemy, Clive, there would be no better way to sew paranoia among the crew than to make us mistrust our commander as a traitor."

He won't worry about the cloak and dagger comment. The rest speaks for itself. But the man waits until she is finished before saying anything. "Look, the evidence points to him. Kulko didn't even know he was on the list of suspects. Lucky confirmed this from another source. And I agree that if I were on the other side, I would want us getting paranoid about Command. But we already have a solid command team. Why go after Abbot? It would be more damaging to go after you. Or me." The man seems calm and rational, anyway. "Here. Read this. Its what Kulko sent me. No copies exist - that's the original." The Major reaches into his pocket and produces a folded paper to hand to her.

(The following is scrawled on a grocery store cash register receipt roll. It's rolled up and delivered to you by Alessandra.)

Major Tillman, I hope this note finds you and Cerberus better than those planetside. The VLF comms gave us a bright spot but things are still mighty rocky. We're gonna have to move once the Raptor comes, so I'm not sure where we'll be, but we've got plenty of smoke.

Haven't heard from Calvin in a few days, but I don't think he's dead. Least, I hope he's not.

Don't show this letter to anyone. Anyone at all. We've found some scary shit down here, sir. Turns out the Cylons are growing people. Cloning, I think. We've confirmed three of them. Lasher and Tis shot a clone of a pilot we had aboard, Lt. Shaker, who supposedly died on warday - but he was here, and talkin' like he was the enemy. Calvin says he saw footage of a woman blow herself up, and then met that woman, and she was hostile as well. Dark hair, pointy nose, over forty; couldn't describe her any closer. Hopefully he saved the footage.

Then there's the real news. We've found our leak in CIC. A news crew was filming a few days after Warday and got footage of a man ordering a pack of Centurions around like they were his sheepdogs. That man was our Admiral. Fair sure he's one of 'em. Lt. Sophronia can confirm all this, as she's seen the tape and was there for the Shaker incident.

I've got the tape secured and I'm bringing it home with me. We'll take care of this first thing. Just watch your back.

I think they're trying to get in our head, so I'm gonna assume everyone is human until proven otherwise. I hope to the Gods you are, sir, cause I've got no one else to trust.

-LTJG Kulko

"Abbot is the leader of this ship, and our Fleet. I think implicating him would do us far more damage than any other individual that could be named," Cidra says. The information is taken, though Tillman is eyed before she gets to it. "I do not think it impossible, Clive, but we must proceed rationally with this. Rashness and heat without forethought is what the Cylons want of us." That said, she skims.

Tillman doesn't say anything at first but the look on his face is plain about what he thinks of Abbot. What he's always thought of the man privately. "I agree. We've gotta be rational. But Gods, Cid. If its true? And that videotape implicates Abbot as being everything that report says he is?" He inclines his head towards her, keeping his voice low. "I've already spoken to Major Cavanaugh. She says she is ready to move on Abbot when I say so. I've told her I wanted to wait. Mainly because I wanted to talk to you before anything is done. Cid? I feel like I'm losing my mind, here. I could use your help."

"This is all most disturbing…" Cidra murmurs, features paling as she goes over it. "And we have not the tape to confirm it ourselves, of course. There is the rub. We do not know if this footage could have been…manipulated."

"Yeah. Exactly." Tillman crosses his arms. "The problem is, we can't risk this rescue op if he -is- the Cylon. Or agent. Or whatever. Its a godsdamn catch twenty-two. If we don't take him out of position and we go, we run a serious risk of being destroyed because he'll give us up. We're open to ambush at some serious points with this op. But? If we take him out and get them back and the evidence turns out to be forged?" The man growls. "See why I'm going nuts with this?"

"We cannot leave our people down on Leonis much longer, Clive. We likely should have brought more back on the Raptors as it was." Cidra's head cocks at Tillman. "Take him out." It is just repeated flatly, blue-gray eyes cold at the notion. "I shall not be a traitor." She lets out a long breath. "There are reasons to be suspicious. The Marines and JAG should have cause to suspend him from command legally, I would think. Have you tried to contact the CO of the Praetorian about this, or the Corsair?"

Tillman doesn't look like he wanted to hear anything in particular from her. But 'Take him out' is met with his eyes and a nod. "I haven't tried to contact either of them because I first wanted to make sure that I had the complete support of my two combatant commanders. If either of you felt that removing him from command was the wrong choice, then I would have looked for alternatives. And, I have Major Cavanaugh looking at that as we speak. She's got orders to independently look for ways to prove the Admiral's innocence." He sighs, swallowing and looking away. "Look, Cid. Madilyn asked me if I am assuming operational control of the ship. Wants to know if all his orders should be considered compromised. If that's that case, then the ship is essentially mine. Speak you mind, Cid. Please. Be blatantly honest with me. I mean, this looks like a damned mutiny."

"This is a soft foundation to make a traitor of yourself, Clive," Cidra says flatly. "To make *mutineers* of us all." That last term is said with far more distaste than even 'traitor'. She takes a deep breath, letting it out slow. One can almost hear the wheels turning in her head, and the frustration as she finds few good places for them to go. "Though I agree it cannot be ignored. We do this by the book or I do not do it at all. Do you understand?"

"The last thing I want to be is a traitor, Cid. You and I both believe in something more than just the rules. We believe in what we are doing and the people we serve with. We owe it to the people on the ground to make sure they come back home alive. We owe it to the people in this fleet - some of the last people left alive - to make sure we do right by them. If that makes me a traitor?" Tillman lets off a heavy sigh. "Then so be it. I'll swing for it if it comes down to it. I don't expect anyone else to. Nor do I want it. You're a damned good officer and if I fall for it, you deserve to take my place." He meets her eyes. "And yes, I believe in doing this by the book. Completely."

"I am an officer in the Colonial Fleet, sworn to uphold the Articles and protect my ship and the people of the Twelve Colonies," Cidra states. Paraphrasing a portion of their oath, mutters more to herself than Tillman. She regards him. It is ever hard to parse much from her expressions. Even she does not seem to know quite what to think or feel in this moment. "Yes, Clive, I believe in certain things. I believe in our laws. And yet, I saw all our laws, our treaties which we had sworn to protect, broken all to shards at Parnassus and its illegal minefield. And we took the mines from its field. And, at the time, I am sure you said it was worth what it cost us. I? I tell you straight I would not have done the same. But it was not my place. And now this…if we break everything we swore to then we are left with nothing."

"I'm not going to explain my rationale behind getting those mines, Cid. But those laws were written to protect civilians. I agree with them. As for this?" He swallows. "I've already thought about it. Its not just what you're saying. Its worse. If I do this, I'm going to have to justify it. The contents of that report will have to become public just to prevent a real mutiny. People could accuse anyone they wanted of being a Cylon. And if its their ranking officers? Am I creating a situation that gives a nod to people who think they have enough proof to mutineer? Is it some kind of very public assent that this behavior is okay?" By the look on his face, the idea is physically painful to him. "The last thing I want is for the people on this ship to just decide that because the XO thought it was okay, that they can do it, too."

"If there are collaborators among us, hiding the facts from our men and women only endangers them. And makes us look guilty for it," Cidra says. "I have faith in my people." And she does sound like she believes it. Though she does not go into explaining her rationale. "This is why it must be done by the book. We still have things that are larger than us. We are still bound by our duty. If we lose that, we might as well have died back at the Colonies with all else we loved."

"Not 'us', Cid. I want to protect you from this if I can. You're the next ranking officer on this ship. I won't order or tell you to keep away as this is at your discretion. What I'm looking for from you is your personal approval to what is probably going to happen. If this evidence turns out to be bullshit, I'll likely be put up against a bulkhead and shot. If its real? Then you can stand tall with me. But I intend to defend what I believe in and I believe in these people we have on this ship and this fleet." The man seems determined to make this right, waiting to hear her reply.

"I have said what I have to say on this, Clive. And I shall do as my duty guides me," Cidra says. And he can make of that what he will. "Much of this strikes me very wrong, but I shall not go to Abbot. Do as your duty guides you. I am not your priestess or your confessor. I can offer you no more than that. As I did say to Lieutenant Bell the other night, we are all of us out of good choices."

"Everything about this is wrong, Cid. If you thought it was right, I'd be suspicious. Its why I trust you. But I appreciate your discretion. If there really are copies or clones out there? This is some dire straights we are sailing into." Tillman probably has no illusions about what it could cost him personally. "What I will probably do is place him into temporary custody prior to the rescue operation. I'll announce exactly what I have done, say why, and remind everyone that Abbot is presumed innocent on these charges. I'll also say that it is still his command and that I am only a temporary replacement at the helm until the Marines can prove his innocence. Once we have that videotape - which is the only evidence - we can view it, test it, and try to prove its a forgery. If it is indeed a forgery, Abbot will be released without question and he will be immediately reinstated and he will receive my resignation followed by my surrender to the Marines." He stops for a moment. There's no 'best case scenario' for him here. "Does that sound acceptable?"

Cidra nods. Wordlessly, but the nod is firm. "Clear eyes and steady hands, Clive." A benediction she typically gives to her pilots as they go off. "Is there anything more? I cannot be long from the flight deck."

Tillman shakes his head. "There won't be much warning before this goes down. I'll try to get a runner to you, though." He takes a deep breath. The guy is scared. Or at least nervous about this. "If Abbot is innocent, watch after Quinn for me." A hard swallow and the man resets the determination to his face. He looks like he might say more but instead just turns and heads for the hatch.

Cidra looks half on point of saying more as well, but she lets Tillman go. Just nodding again. Taking a moment when she has the room to herself to light a cigarette. She needs a smoke.

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