PHD #000: Emotion's Embrace
Emotion's Embrace
Summary: Damon finds Atreus on the Deck and is appointed his second-in-command; this is lost in the wake of Atreus' loss.
Date: 26 Feb 2041 AE
Related Logs: Preceding Logs: The Blameless Tide, What Sweet Price Freedom, Broken Birds in Their Nests, After
Atreus Damon 
Hangar Deck - Port Midship - Battlestar Cerberus

The single largest rooms on the Cerberus are the hangar decks. Each flight pod consists of two stacked landing bays with adjoined decks and hangars, which along with computer-assisted landings results in a faster Viper recovery rate. Mirror images of each other, these two huge areas are located on the flight pods. The inboard sides of the deck, closest to the ship's main hull, are lined with parking and maintenance bays for Vipers and Raptors based aboard the battlestar. The outboard side of the deck contains the launch tubes used by the Vipers for standard deployment. Huge blast doors seal the deck into four sections, each one containing an elevator that leads up to the flight deck directly overhead. The fore-most section contains an elevator system that leads towards Aerospace Fabrication.

It's been about fifteen minutes since Damon's left the deck, having put one of the POs in charge after the madness that transpired in the wake of the ceremony. There are Vipers and Raptors in various states of damage - the worst being a smashed-up, upside-down Raptor that's been pulled away to one side. Others are shot up, beat up, and the hangar floor is littered with pieces and glass. "Chief wasn't up in the bunks," he mutters as he gets his toolbelt on. He's finally out of his grays and into his jumpsuit, and the pistol's been left behind in his bunk. "I want this deck cleared up and back to operational capacity ASAP. CAG wants to put out CAP as soon as possible, and I want to give her a green light, not excuses."

And that is the way of the Deck. Crews move to get things cleaned up. Glass is swept and pieces of broken bits gathered. Atreus is not up in his bunk, nor is he in his office. His boots can be seen poking out from beneath the BlackKnight 311, though. And the rest of him is lying on a lift up almost in the engine compartment. His arms are up in the compartment and the hum of power comes on, then goes off again. Soft muttering can be heard from where he is, though the words are not discernable.

One of the POs walks with Damon for a moment as he comes back on deck, giving him a quick rundown and also pointing him to BlackKnight-311 where Atreus is. "Chief?" he asks, ducking under the bird. His voice is tired and hoarse - he's been doing a lot of shouting in the last couple hours. "Gods, where the frak did you come from? We were lookin' for you everywhere, I almost thought - " But no, that sentence isn't one that's seen through to the end. Not after everything else that's happened tonight. "We're in a bad state, Chief, a bad frakkin' state."

Sliding out from almost half-way inside the 311, Atreus looks down to where Damon stands. He rolls to one side, slipping off the lift to land on his feet near the AE Lead. "Yeah. We are. I was on the Anchorage." His tone is clipped, anger and sorrow clear in his eyes. "What's our status, Damon. Let's start there."

Damon takes a deep breath. Status? Where does he even start? "Chief, I - frak," he mutters, raising his eyes to the ceiling and taking another deep breath. "We've got nine birds here in various states of hurt. I think we've got a shitload that never made it back, I don't know, I haven't received the full counts yet." A long moment of silence as the AE Lead purses his lips and gathers his chaotic thoughts. "I've called clearing the deck has as first priority, followed by an FOD walkdown. CAG wants to put out CAP as soon as possible - but I don't think it's gonna happen with these birds." He gestures to the injured birds. "Some of these are gonna take days to get back to rights."

Atreus wipes his hands on a rag as he listens. Every so often his eyes flicker around to look at the birds around. His expression grows more grim until finally, he sighs, "Alright. We're going to have to go on the assumption that what we see is what we've got. Though I don't know if the CAG's flying anyone right now." Tucking the rag into his pocket, he reaches for a clipboard resting on the lift near where his head was. This is offered to Damon, "When I came down I started a list of which birds in here have what injuries. I figure we can cut down repair times if we go to 8 on, 12 off rotations. We can stagger so we have coverage with no one doing doubles. How's that inventory going, by the way?"

"Bad," Damon replies bluntly, eyes dark. "As of my final inventory, we were down nearly fifteen percent supplies from what the load lists stated." He's the bearer of bad news all around tonight, it seems. Accepting the clipboard, his eyes move over the words and numbers - but that's all they are, words and numbers, never quite coalescing into anything meaningful that registers to him. His stare is blank; he gives up and looks back up to Atreus. "We've got no CAP right now, and we're completely vulnerable. Cerberus FTL's shot from what I hear and we'er dead in the water."

Out of the frying pan and into the fire, or so it seems. Atreus takes the clipboard back, his own eyes growing stormy. His mouth works for a moment, as though he is seeking something clever or encouraging to say. Nothing comes. Nothing at all. Instead, he nods, "Thanks." The clipboard is placed back where it sat, the movement precise. "Right then. I'm putting a lock on the supply cabinet. You and I'll have the keys. For now. We run salvage on anything that we cannot fix so no parts go to waste. Let's see if we have a machinist or two." He looks around, the weight of it all settling across his shoulders. "Oh, let's see if we can modify Trask's image scrambler. If we can put something together that scrambles our own signals we might be able to hide from whom ever… Whomever it was that attacked. Ideas?"

Damon shakes his head, lips pressed thin. The AE Lead declines to speculate. Or he just doesn't know where to begin. "Picon's frakked. The Anchorage, frakked. Twenty-seven Battlestars, frakked. And this." He gestures to the deck again, his eyes not even glancing to the ships. The man's voice is barely a whisper now. "Twenty-seven Battlestars, Chief. Twenty-seven." Another shake of the head as he turns away. "I can't wrap my frakkin' head around it."

Atreus listens, his eyes closing at the increadible toll of it. Softly, "I'm with you there, Damon." He waits a moment, then slowly shakes his head. "Don't try. Not yet. Not today. Not tomorrow. Maybe not even the next day. There'll be time enough for that later. Now? The fleet; what's left of it, needs these birds. Our pilots need them. Frak, man, the Cerberus needs them. So, we work to put them back together again. Step by step. By the book. And when things have settled again, we lift a horn for those who… who died."

Silence. Stillness in the midst of all the frenetic chaos of the work on the deck. Damon's eyes are dark and blank, similar to the thousand-yard stare reported in many of those who fought in the War. "Yeah," he says, almost too softly to hear the first time. He clears his throat and repeats, "Yeah. Gotta keep… gotta keep working. Doing our job." But his boots remain stubbornly glued on the spot and unwilling to move. His hands down at his sides have been balling into fists and releasing again, his entire arm tensing with each such movement.

Atreus says, "Right. Keep moving. Keep working." He licks his lips, his own eyes never leaving the ship ahead of him. Finally, as though to himself, he adds, "My wife and kids were meeting me on Picon." The words sound hollow, though his breathing is rough, ragged. Turning, he reaches out to clap Damon on the shoulder, "I'm making you my second in command here." It is without the niceties that the other assignment included. "Find one of yours to take over as lead. We have too much to get done in too short a time."

That part about the wife and kids makes Damon wince visibly, finally shaking him out of his funk. Dead blue eyes turn to Atreus' - his usual jovial demeanor completely gone, there's a serious gravity about the man. "I'm - sorry," he says, his words abrupt and halting. He can't find any more words of comfort for his Chief. A hand reaches out blindly, like a child reaching out for comfort in the dark, and grips Atreus' forearm, clasping arms with him. The other hand comes up and grasps his shoulder. "I'm sorry," he says again, this time the words spilling from his lips. "Gods give them rest. And us, vengeance." His eyes flash with uncontrollable emotion - then he releases the Chief just as suddenly as he grabbed him.

Catching Damon's gaze, he turns his hand a bit to grip the other man's forearm. He lifts his free hand to grip his shoulder. If anything, it is like two warriors greeting each other after a long battle, or a journey of a million steps. Atreus nods, his expression staying bleak, barren, empty. In among the millions on Picon the only three he thinks about now are a smiling woman and two young adults. He nods again, his gaze refocusing on Damon, "So say we all." The work? Forgotten for now. He releases Damon, his gaze slipping over toward his office, "Listen. I need a few minutes. Pick a bird and see what you can do, yeah?" Turning, he starts heading toward his office.

"Aye, aye, Chief," Damon says quietly as the man turns and walks away. Atreus probably can't even hear the words, so softly are they spoken. It's not until the man disappears out of sight that the PO finally moves, slowly coming back down to earth and becoming aware of his surroundings. The sounds and movements filter in through his senses, and he looks so utterly lost for a moment before he latches onto a broken bird - the cold comfort of machinery and circuitry - and engrosses himself in his work. Everyone has their escapism, and Damon's a workaholic.

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