PHD #377: EVENT - Face in the Crowd
Face in the Crowd
Summary: Tensions boil over among the civilians during yet another Cylon Swarm attack. A view from the MV Elpis.
Date: 10 Mar 2042 AE
Related Logs: Swarms logs in general
Nataly Vandenberg Rose Kincaid Astra NPC Hydra 
Corridor - MV Elpis
Similar but not identical to those on military vessels, this hall features a hexagonal structure, with pressed metal plating on the floor and walls. Hatches line it, providing access to other parts of the ship.
Post-Holocaust Day: #377

It's been a little less than 24 hours since the last time the Cylon Swarm attacked, and retreated from, the Fleet. As they have attacked near every day for almost a month now. As they've retreated since the Fleet sought some manner of 'refuge' in the gas giant haze of Audumbla. Yet it does not keep them away. The Cylons come, without fail, and for every one shot down the next day does not seem to thin their numbers any. Out in space, the aerial fighters patrol on what has - thus far - been a quiet shift.

Amidst all this on the Elpis, life goes on as much as life can. Civilians move through the corridors about whatever business they have, whether it's going to or from whatever manner of work they've found to fill their days, heading off to Pete's or to take a meal in the kitchens, or to blow off some steam in the gym. MPs patrol the corridors. A few more than usual. It's near shift-change time, so a few are coming on to replace those about to get off. No reports of notable disturbances in the past one. A few fights, an ownership dispute over the odd luxury item. Just another shift, nothing out of ordinary, albeit with tensions heightened by the daily press of the Cylons across the Fleet. Not that that's out of ordinary at the moment, either. Some mutter that perhaps they won't come today, perhaps things will remain quiet. But few believe it any longer.

It's hard to be happy, sometimes, but Nataly does her best, moving about the ship with a smile on her face, waving at those who are familiar to her. Help keep people's spirits up, and all that. As always, her notebook is present in the breast pocket of her overalls, ready to whip out at the first sniff of a story that she could get over to Cerberus. For the most part, this is all she can do, besides maybe playing some music at Pete's, so she does it.

Vandenberg strolls along in the corridor. She's spent much of the last few days with her shifts done up in one of the missile tubes and packing shaped charges. She's arrived for this shift a little early in her brows looking a little tired but otherwise no worse for wear. Another day, another.. shift. The Lieutenant doesn't really seem like she's expecting anything out of the norm, giving nods to some of the Marines. "Miss Rassvet," she greets easily.

One of the benefits of being in charge of the hydroponics program is that you occasionally get to have your pick of the latest crop. And that's precisely what Rose has in her hot little hands: a plastic container of an assortment of peppers, a few "new" potatoes, and a tomato - likely destined for some sort of fresh salad. And Rose is notorious for trading her seldom-used alcohol rations, which means she probably has the other ingredients stashed away somewhere. She passes along the corridor, headed for the living area.

Kincaid is walking with Vandenberg, just a step or two behind, the cop accompaniment to the more — generalist — officer. Generalist. Let's put it that way. He's in his MP uniform — the khakis with the brassard and police belt. Must perhaps most noticeable is his notepad in his front pocket and ballpoint pen sticking just out the top. "Nataly," chimes in Danny as they pass the woman.

Astra walks down the corridor, free of children for once. Instead she is carrying a few books in her arms, something to study, perhaps. Also notebooks, papers, and anything else that can be written on; there is homework to grade after all. She is heading in general towards her quarters, looking rather tired. She looks up at the others and nods her head.

Announcement: Hydra shouts, "<Intercom> Attention! Action Stations! Set Condition One throughout the Fleet."

And just like that, the quiet's broken. Even on the Elpis the klaxons sound. The Swarm has come again. For those civilian pilots on board who steer this bucket, and those military technicians and their contractor helpers in the ship's small engine room, it means a rush to 'action stations' just as it does for military folk. An announcement in the grizzled voice of the ship's captain, Benjamin Cincinnatus, comes over the PA: «This is the captain speaking. Fleet reports two Cylon contacts and likely more on the way. Hunker down, folks, and stay calm. We'll ride this one out like all the others. All flight control hands to the bridge.»

But for most onboard, this is a call to hunker down, stay quiet, and wait. Wait largely blind to the battle between human and Cylon raging outside, until it's over. One way or another. The corridor promptly gets a *lot*fuller as civilians flood into it. Most heading back toward the living quarter areas, walking quick, the air buzzing with muted by worried conversation. It's not quite panic, but the tension has gone from slack to taut.

The smile disappears, and Nataly takes a deep breath. She hates the waiting. Still, she takes some comfort in the company, and brings the smile back to greet Van and Danny. "Hey there, guys. Here we go again."

Vandenberg hears the call over the intercom and the one on her radio. Wonderful. The people need no cowing. She just moves to the side of the corridor to allow people to mass as efficiently as possible. A glance to Kincaid: "One of these days, they'll figure out they're just a nuisance and quit bothering us. Maybe." Its deadpanned, the Lieutenant getting used to the constant attacks. She nods to Nataly. "Yep. One more time unto the breach or something like that. Gonna head back to quarters or hang here with us?"

Rose pauses, listening to the announcement. No matter how many times it has happened in recent days, it's still frightening. Still chilling. And, before she can react, the hallway floods with folk trying to get to a safe place or their loved ones. Being of slight stature and without much of an authoritative-sounding voice, Rose is quick to get battered around and roughly stepped past; she eventually finds herself briefly pinned against the corridor and an archway frame. "Um, a little help? Anyone?" An increasingly fearful, panicked look is filling her features.

"Come on, people! General quarters! Head to your rooms or your stations! Keep it orderly!" Kincaid is shouting out as the alert klaxons go off once again. It's like he's had to do this traffic cop job before. But then there's a cry of distress! What ho, yon maiden! "Make some room!" calls out Danny, pushing his way through the mass of humanity, working his way towards Rose pinned up against the wall.

For a moment Astra goes utterly still, the color draining from her face. But then she hears the voice of a friend, and she shakes herself out of her stupor. "Right. No different from planetside," she tells herself. The tiny woman slips through the crowd with the ease borne of trying to herd seven lively children. "Rose! We're all right!" she calls out. She puts her fingers to her lips and gives a piercing whistle. Then, in Schoolteacher Voice, she calls, "People! We'll be all right! If we have one line going in each direction, we'll all get where we need to that fast. It's all right!"

Between Kincaid's traffic control work and Astra's teacherly directions, many in the crowd actually do proceed in an orderly fashion back to their quarters. But there are some who don't as well. Some of those are coming from the direction of Colonial Pete's, stumbling notably. Others, like Rose, just look half-panicked and frightened. With little to do but wait as the Cylons swarm outside, having nothing to do can be more unnerving than scrambling to duty.

Vandenberg looks off towards Pete's letting her eyes drift over the faces in the crowd. And their hands. She seems very casual, holding an even face. If the Marines aren't showing a panic, that's a good sign for the civilians, right? Leadership through stoic nods. She eyes two individuals leaving but says nothing to either of them. Her eyes linger on the few stumbling and having problems. For now the Marine Officer just stands her post.

"Astra?" Comes Rose's tiny, almost strangled-sounding voice. By the time Kincaid finds her, all the color has drained out of her face and she's clutching the small bin of vegetables to her as if it were her only lifeline. She's not all that trapped, but if Danny has any experience with folks who don't handle crowds well, she's in the throes of a panic attack.

Nataly is about to smile and accept the offer to stick with Van and Danny when suddenly she takes a HUGE shove from behind, toppling her forward into the wall. Ouch. After crashing into it, she turns quickly, looking about, eyes wide. "What in Hades…" it had to be an intentional shove, but she can't see who did it.

Kincaid jerks his head upwards and outwards at something, for no real apparent reason, but then gets himself to Rose. "You all right, ma'am?" he asks, placing a gentle, but firm, hand on her shoulder. "We're going to get you to your quarters. You just stick with me, all right?" But even as the asks the question, his eyes seem to be half on something else.

"Rose!" Astra takes advantage of the semblance of order, and she darts through the crowd, making her way to Rose and Kincaid. "Hey… hey. It's me. It's like letting the kids out on a schoolday… all in a tangled rush to get anywhere." The young woman looks to Kincaid, frowning a little at his expression, then turns back to Rose. "You want to come by my quarters? Petra's learned her alphabet, and she'll even talk if it's reading short words on a paper."

"What's the matter, kid? Trip over one of your toaster buddies?" comes a rough, rather nasal Taurian-accented man's voice from within the crowd at Nataly. It's followed by rougher chuckles from a few in the milling crowd as she stumbles. This makes many pause in their orderly retreat back to their quarters to gawk.

Vandenberg notes the shove to Nataly and growls at the person who may or may not have done it. "Stay on the wall, Natalya, or head to your quarters." Its not a request. That's an order. She blades herself in to protect the girl from the oncoming traffic. "Keep yappin, sir. Just keep on moving." The Marine just scowls at the Nasal Taurian.

Nataly turns to follow the voice, not quite able to spot the source but glaring. Van's orders are heard, and so she stays on the wall. There is a hard glare, a rarity for her. Toaster buddies? She'd been called a military sympathiser plenty, but a Cylon sympathiser?

"I… can't move…" Rose squeaks, presumably to Kincaid and Astra. "There's… no way. Too many people. Just let me… catch my breath…" The woman isn't hyperventilating, but it's clear she's having trouble catching a breath. Still very pale, her pupils are very dialated, her eyes very round, taking in everything that's going on - and perhaps that's her problem. Finally, her eyes fix on Kincaid, and she swallows down audibly. "Get me out of here," she whispers pleadingly. "Please?"

"All right. We'll get you home, ma'am." Kincaid wraps his arm around Rose's shoulders and begins walking her through the crowd, using his body as her shield to take her forward. "What quarters are you in? Just go ahead and tell me your room number and I'll get you there."

"Would it be easier to close your eyes and let us lead you?" Astra asks softly. She looks up to Kincaid. "I'll walk along with you both, if you like." She looks around at the milling crowd, biting her lip, then shaking herself. Then she moves to Rose's other side, keeping her tiny form, arms splayed out a little, between the other woman and the crowd. "Everything will be all right," she repeats.

"Shut the frak up, man, that's not funny!" slurs a young, extremely disheveled young man who was stumbling from the direction of Pete's, reacting to the 'toaster' comment seemingly. He looks like he ran through several vouchers over the last few hours. "Don't you frakking get it? They're out there, right now, trying to kill us all, man."

"You shut the frak up, Cylon frakker," the Taurian growls at the drunken man. But he *does* move on at Vandenberg's instruction. Many others in the crowd are not so obedient, however, now properly milling and gawking at the little scene. Many look confused, though there are a few flashes of sudden recognition at the drunk, and the tension in the air seems to shoot up. Nataly, at least, is left unmolested with their attention turned elsewhere.

A pair of men in plain civilian clothes keep close to the unruly, drunk man, seeking out Vandenberg and Kincaid's eyes over the crowd. They look tense as well, but it's with wariness and suddenly heightened awareness rather than panic.

The ship, as all this goes one, has started to shift and thrust. Hardly at whiplash speeds. It's a freighter, after all, not a fighter plane. But it's having to do some flying of its own to avoid the worst of the Swarm, and it can be felt by those who travel on it now.

Vandenberg keeps her eyes on the drunk, boring holes right through his head as he passes. "Keep going." She then looks to the other lingering folks. "That goes for the rest of you, too. Keep moving and stop blockign the corridor!" She lifts her voice to carry it above the milling crowd. "C'mon. To your quarters." That Canceran accent just sings easily in her voice, having eschewed her strict Colonial a few months ago. "Natalya, keep your peace, darlin." That is said more quietly.

Having now spotted the Nasal Tauronian, Nataly marks his face. Later, not now. Not while the shooting is going on. She nods, and then hangs back against the wall. A look over sees Danny and Astra shielding Rose and they move through the hall, and Nataly presses back to be as out of their was as possible.

"I'm terribly sorry for all this," whimpers Rose to the guiding Kincaid and the reassuring Astra. She shuffles along, moving at the pace that Kincaid sets, although it's clear that her feet are mincing along, and she's staring at the deck; she's forcing herself to stare downward. It's probably the only reason why she's able to move at all.

Kincaid makes eye contact with those two plain-clothed people near the edges of the scuffle, but keeps himself with Rose, trying to guide her through the crowd. "Do you know where her quarters are?" wonders the Marine to Astra, curious. "Ma'am." He snaps his fingers in front of Rose's face. "I need you to focus for me. Just tell me where we're headed, okay?"

"It's all right," murmurs Astra. She wobbles a little as the ship shifts, then nods her head. "Yeah. Follow me…" She looks around, getting her bearings, then steps a little ahead, making her way as best she can. "Not far, not terribly far." She rattles off a room designation, but keeps moving forward herself. "In case we get separated."

Whatever's going on outside the ship is getting violent. It juts in a hard upward arc, then another hard starboard, the lights flickering as the maneuvers the old girl is having to pull strain her engines. Which, with the crowded corridor, is a nice recipe for chaos. People are jerked off their feet, some falling, some knocking into the walls or each other. The drunken man, predictably, stumbles, though one of the other steadier men standing over his shoulder catches his arm.

"How the frak do they keep finding us!?" a woman's voice yells, also with an edge of panic to it.

Nataly tumbles to the ground, crashing hard as she is tangled up with others who are falling. "Dammit," she mutters to herself, trying to roll at least into a position to protect her from being trampled. Her eyes cast around for some sort of protection, but there isn't much to be found.

Vandenberg keeps a steady stature with the lift and move of the ship, carefully keeping herself upright with the shift of G-forces. A hand moves to steady herself on the wall but it doesn't seem to be required. Seeing people tumble, though, she moves to help an older man up. "Please try to keep moving where you can. Slowly! The faster you move, the slower this goes - believe it or not. Just.." Seeing Nataly go down she gets low on her squart and reaches out for the girl's hand to hold her and help her up.

Bang! For the one who is supposedly supposed to be leading the (formerly) blind, Kincaid wasn't quite ready for the sudden movement in the ship. He hits a bulkhead and tumbles to off his feet. Perhaps the only thing going for him is that he instinctively covers his sidearm, one of those sorts of reflexes that they teach you back in MP school. Otherwise, he's the one seeing stars for the moment, not Rose.

Rose shrieks and flails when the ship lurches, and falls to her hands and knees with a painful whack. This causes her to lose it, letting out a childish cry of pain and confusion. No injuries other than battered shins and stinging red hands, but her feeling of helplessness is thrown into full bloom, now.

Thank the gods for walls. Astra is flung into one, but she manages to keep her feet. She rushes to Rose, reaching out her hand. "It's all right. We'll get you out of here. It's all right, Rose. Close your eyes if it helps." She then looks to Kincaid. "Sir? Are you all right?" She stays where she is for the moment, until she knows.

"How? How!? We're being hunted. They've got those frakking fleshjob abominations all over this Fleet, spying on us!" comes the wiry, nasal Taurian's voice again. He apparently did not get back to his quarters. "They're all around us!"

It's hard to tell precisely what touched it off. The jolt of the ship, a shove either intentional or unintentional. The confused yells from the crowd of people. And it's unclear who throws the first punch. But those who've regained their feet would see the drunken man take an off-kilter swing at the Taurian. He misses, but the Taurian swings back, knocking him off his feet. One of the men who seems to be shadowing the drunk makes an effort to break it up, but it quickly escalates beyond the pair of them, becoming a proper brawl as close-quarter elbows and fists and tensions boil over.

Nataly rolls to get her back against a bulkhead, seeing the trouble coming and not much knowing what to do but try to get out of the way, a hand reaching out to grab Van's. "Frakking idiots," she mutters to herself. "This is all we frakking need."

Nothing too much bruised on Kincaid except his pride. He plants a hand down behind him and then pushes himself up to his feet, struggling back to it in a bit of a daze. "Just keep her to the side," the Marine instructs Astra, apparently referring to Rose. "Keep her up against the wall. You understand me?" He, apparently, is going to have to go towards the fight.

Van does her best to lift Nataly to some semblance of safe control of herself. "Stay safe!" she commands at the young woman. However it needs to be done. Vandenberg rises from her squat and looks to the group of brawlers. "KINCAID!" she bellows. "ACTION FRONT!" Keeping her hand on her sidearm to secure it, she wades into the group to try to get towards the man getting his ass handed to him - hits and punches be damned. This is gonna hurt.

In the throes of a nonsensical rant of crying and apologizing, mostly, Rose has somehow managed to get back to the corridor wall. Tucking herself into the fetal position, she's buried her face in her knees and covered up with her arms. Anxiety rules this young woman right now.

Most of those in the corridor who haven't scurried back to their rooms are keeping to the sidelines, gawking in the still dim and occasionally flickering light. But there is a small collection of men rolling around and punching each other. The lanky, nasal-voiced Taurian brings his elbow back at Vandenberg intervenes. He connects with her, but she can get a grip on him easily as he does it. And connecting makes him seem to finally come to his sense. He stares at her with a distinctly, 'Oh frak, I just punched a cop' kind of look.

"MILITARY POLICE! KNOCK IT THE FRAK OFF!" yells one of the plain-clothes men who was shadowing the drunk, working from his end to break up the brawl. Apparently Vandenberg and Kincaid aren't the only MPs here. It's not quelled so quickly, though. While the Taurian stops, a half-dozen other men are still fighting. It's unclear who is even on who's side, though the drunk who may or may not have started it all seemed buried in the scrum of them.

Kincaid isn't going to let Vandenberg have all the fun. Or, well, take all the hits. With Rose in Astra's caring hands, the military cop makes a rush for the scrum, looking to haul some of the drunk brawlers off of each other. At this point, it doesn't matter who is on whose side. It's more a matter of getting them off of each other. More than anything, he seems to be working towards the drunk, trying to get him from being pummeled to death. "Get back," Kincaid throws himself into the din of voices and bodies. "Back the it the frak off!"

Vandenberg grabs the elbow and meets eyes with the man long enough for her to give him one HELLUVA severe look. "DESIST! Rightfrakkingnow!" She throws his elbow away and moves back into the group with one hand still on her gun. "POLICE!! Break it up or everyone goes to the damned brig!!" The shortay starts grabbing at belts and shirt collars to pull people apart in an effort to get to the man still at the center of it.

Nataly watches as the fight boils around, looking about anxiously. She kinda wants to help, but knows that any immediate helping probably wouldn't make anything better, but she does yank out her notebook and starts taking down descriptions of those who are fighting, names where she knows them.

Another man, a bulky Sagittaron, shoots a fist toward Kincaid as the semi-ginger MP joins the fray. But he misses. Perhaps he'd been spending some time at Pete's as well. In any case, Kincaid can actually manage to drag him away from the dogpile. It's breaking up now. But as the other men disperse, trying to actually *go* to their quarters now if they aren't detained - the drunk who was shouting when all this began continues to lay on the corridor floor. And, while the others are only sporting bruises, a pool of blood has started to form under him. He groans.

Having done his bit to haul a person away from the pile, Kincaid then notes the injured fellow on the ground. "Get me the corpsman!" shouts out the cop, looking around the crowd, assuming that someone will take care of it for him. "Tell the on-deck Raptor to be ready to get a patient over to Cerberus once we get the all-clear!" His voice is a loud, commanding bark, despite the presence of the El-Tee.

"Aw shit." Vandenberg is still fighting, shoving people away. "MAKE A HOLE!" she roars at everyone around her, using her left arm to shove people to the side and try to protect the man on the floor. Former military or not. Busted for crimes or not. The Lieutenant isn't about to let anyone else throw hits at him. her baton comes out in her left hand and is flicked open. She means business. "Keep moving!" She lifts her hand to her radio at Kincaids call.

Astra turns her head to look at the melee, and she shakes her head. Her lips form the words of an old prayer from Aquaria, but she makes no sound. She shifts her feet with the swaying of the ship, keeping close to Rose to keep the other woman safe.

[TAC1] "Dog Actual" Vandenberg says, "Cerberus, Dog Actual on Elpis. Reporting a brawl in corridor Able One-Five. We have injured who will require evac when possible, over."

[TAC1] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Dog Actual, this is Cerberus Actual. Copy that. SAR bird outbound with a medic aboard."

Inbetween Rose's whimpering comes something that sounds like a song. A classical melody, certainly older. The marines present might recognize one of the piano pieces that Major Cavanaugh favors, or favored, in the past.

The crowd has been stunned into numb acquiescence, and they part like a human sea around Vandenberg and Kincaid, their MP fellows and the bleeding man on the floor. There's a blade on the floor that's visible as they disperse. A shaving razor, honed to a shiv. The medics are on their way, albeit agonizingly slowly it must seem now that the action has broken. The corridor is quiet now, shocked into silence, the sound of Rose's song the only thing that really carries.

With only his rudimentary knowledge of First Aid, Kincaid does all he can do, which is get in there and apply direct pressure to the wound, do what he can to try to stanch it, or at least stop the flow — until the professional arrives. "Everyone else all right?" is what he asks, without much more to do to keep control of things.

Vandenberg keeps low with her baton out in front, held to the side to ebb traffic around the group. She looks around briefly but doesn't let her gaze linger very long before looking back up at the oncoming civilians. She looks like she's ready to kill the first person that defies the unsaid orders to leave them alone. She's on the radio again quickly.

Nataly sees the knife, and loses it. "What in Hades!" She shouts. "It's not enough the Cylons are trying to kill us, but one of you assholes is going to knife a drunk who couldn't even connect when he swung? Who did it? Which of you cowards did it? Who, damn you? If you're big enough to knife a drunk in a scrum, you should be big enough to stand trial for it!"

[TAC1] "Dog Actual" Vandenberg says, "Copy, Actual. Incoming with possible stab wound. Alert Medical."

"That's a lovely song, Rose," Astra murmurs, smiling. She glances around, then looks down again. "Do you think you can stand? I can walk with you to your quarters, hrmm?"

Announcement: Hydra shouts, "<Intercom> Attention! Set Condition Two throughout the Fleet."

[TAC3] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Dog Actual, Cerberus Actual. Copy. Raptor should be docking now. Our DRADIS is clearing. The Cylons have retreated. We'll get ourselves on the move again once your man's off to Medical."

Many in the crowd turn to stare at Nataly, as if jarred by her words. The rest stare at the bleeding man on the corridor floor, and the knife. No one so much as twitches for it. There's no one else visible with blood on them, but many have slunk away into the living quarters. The two plain clothes MPs are assisting in keeping those who were most deeply involved in the fight in place. A calm bred from shock has fallen over the civilians on the Elpis. It's unclear how much the 'end of hostilities' outside even registers with many of them.

Rose numbly stands, still pale as a sheet, although enough seems to be quieting down for her to regain some rationality. "I'm… sorry," she says weakly to Astra. "I'm not sure… what came over me…" And then she moves along with Astra at her side.

"Nothing to be sorry about," Astra murmurs. "Really. It was a… a bad situation. Nothing to be sorry about or worry about at all." She shakes herself. "We'll just keep out of the way until this clears out a little, make our way as fast or slow as you want. I think it's over, the attack."

Kincaid's half-ministrations to the fallen drunkard are finally received by a person in Navy greens with a red cross brassard on the arm. Finally, the paramedic arrives. He is more than happy to hand off his care to his Navy friend, and stands up, letting out a loud whistle. "Let's get all of the MP's from the last and current shift down here. Start taking statements from everyone. Nataly, I'll get you later. Let's see if anyone saw anyone with some metal in hand …" And so, rounding up the troops, Danny Kincaid fades into the background of the grunt policework.

Nataly pushes forward, shaking her head in disgust. "Cowards, all of them. They do the Cylon's work for them, and then they dare to call OTHER people sympathizers. Frakking ridiculous." And with that, she storms off to her living quarters.

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