PHD #115: Fearful Strange Accounts
Fearful Strange Accounts
Summary: Sitka delivers to Cidra a report of sorts on some of what transpired down on Leonis. It adds up to nothing comforting for anyone.
Date: 21 June 2041 AE
Related Logs: Lots of Leonis-timeframe logs are referenced, but Assorted Stupid and Other Matters is its spiritual cousin.
Cidra Sitka 
Recovery Room - Sickbay - Deck 10 - Battlestar Cerberus
A much more quiet area of Medical, this elongated room is also lined with beds. Each is similarly outfitted with privacy curtains as necessary and even the paint on the walls has been lightened in an attempt to help lift spirits. Chairs are readily available all over the place so that visitors can pull one up to talk to the patients during their recovery. Near the entrance, visiting hours are posted with a very conspicuous 'No Smoking' sign.
Post-Holocaust Day: #115

The Recovery Room is still housing more personnel than usual, as Medical sees to those battered from the exit of Leonis. And Cidra is still among them. The curtain around her bed is half-open at the moment, though she's not chatting with any who neighbor her on the nearby beds. Her left shoulder's bound up in a sling and a nasty bruise, going slowly from purple to yellowish, marks her left temple. Her right hand still appears to be in good working order, though, and she's gotten ahold of her prayer beads from somewhere. She runs them long her fingers and knuckles, clicking them together in a somewhat off-beat rhythm. Eyes focused on the wall opposite her, as if trying to see beyond it. And not entirely succeeding.

Somewhere in the midst of that bout of wall-staring, the recovery ward's been invaded by a blues uniformed Captain, also sporting a few cuts and bruises, and bearing two cups of what appear to be coffee. Or possibly tea. In either case, they're steaming. Finally spotting Cidra through the gap in the curtain, he turns and makes his way over. A chair's leg is caught with his booted foot, and dragged in closer so he can take a seat. "Been looking all over for you, sir," he offers with a crooked smile. One of the cups is extended toward her working hand. "I'd, uh, meant to drop by last night, but things were pretty crazy.. seemed like you had company."

Cidra's meditation, or attempt thereof, is not a terribly deep one apparently. As a new arrival into the ward makes her eyes avert in that direction. She smiles. Ever so slightly, as she is wont. It touches on her blue eyes, though. "Ibrahim. Hello." The cups are eyed speculatively. But she does not immediately ask about them. "I am so difficult to find in my current state." Tone a little dry. "I am sure all had their hands full. And I was less than coherent after returning from Leonis. I vaguely recall that I should thank you, by the way." All traces of dry humor fade to sincerity. "And I do thank you for pulling me off Leonis. You and Bootstrap. He did come to see me for a bit. I owe you both a great debgt, though I suspect you shall be less graceless about collecting than he is wont to be." Well, some of the dryness returns as she touches on Trask.

At first, the thanks genuinely seems to confuse him. What began as a tentative smile wobbles and twists into puzzlement— then clears again when she elucidates. "..oh. Oh, well…" He turns the second cup so its handle is pointed toward Cidra in silent offering, while keeping the first between his knees. It's a balancing act. "..Kal was the one who'd realised you came down nearby. I just, uh, helped. Careful, that's hot." His own blue eyes avoid meeting Cidra's like the plague. Some things never change.

Cidra slips her prayer beads off her knuckles, into her pocket, and takes the cup in hand. She's a righty, which is fortunate at the moment. It is lifted to her nose and given a sniff before any sipping is done. "Trask has his useful moments. Interspersed with more irritating ones. I am not sure at times where he balances for me, but he has not entirely wasted my goodwill yet." A pinky is raised and motioned to the curtain. "Close that, please. Have you much time? Trask told me a little of what you experienced on Leonis, but not overmuch. Our conversation rather side-tracked."

Sitka's lips twitch slightly like he might have something to say on that count, but then Cidra's indicating for the curtain to be drawn, and he eases back in his chair slightly in order to comply. "He's a damned fine backseater, and a good man to have at your back when push comes to shove, though I think he needs to be careful not to confuse honesty.." He settles into his chair again with his own tea. "..with being an ass, sometimes." A breath's blown out his nose, and he scratches at a still-bristly cheek with the heel of his hand. "Should I start from the beginning, or..?"

"Honest opinions I value. One should be careful what one asks for, I do suppose. And near it. I have some good handle, I think, on what transpired after you lot landed at the air base. And were attacked there, as I do understand it. How you came to leave it and what occurred in the city…of that reports are spottier. I am most curious." Cidra sips at her cup, pausing a beat before adding. "Foremost, though. You can be spared this, at least. I heard about Lasher." Another pause. "Trask told me that much. How are they taking it?"

There's no further commentary on the matter, though Shiv does give a curt nod to signify his agreement with the first statement. There might even be a touch of fondness for the man, though it's as difficult as ever to read into his voice. "I, uh.. I have a written report, if you want it. Well, it's half finished, anyway. Or would you prefer to hear it all in my own words?" He searches her face briefly. "Nearly two months we were down there, I guess. I'm not sure I have it all at the tip of my tongue, but if you want the highlights.." And then her question registers. "Sophronia's upset, but she's trying not to show it, I think. The rest seemed pretty.. numb, I guess. A lot's happened, sir."

"It has been a rough two months," Cidra agrees softly, sipping at her cup again. A little nod as to Sophronia, and the others. "She would. That shall need to be dealt with quickly." She seems about to say more on it, but it is not a subject she dwells on. Not now, at least. "Paperwork, Ibrahim? I am all of pride." A touch of humor there though there's still somberness underlying it. "That shall be better for the record. But the highlights, as you call them, would be appreciated. I have heard bits and pieces in here. I cannot make sense of it. It does sound most fearful strange."

"For you as much as for us, I'm sure," the Captain replies, studying the surface of his tea now, rather than Cidra's face. "I was surprised to see you come down for us personally, I'll admit." His lips twitch slightly, but no smile quite manages to form. They've been even sparser since his return. Silence for a few moments while he considers what to say, and then rather quietly, in a voice that doesn't carry beyond the CAG, "There was a woman who called herself Yazdah. Not human, and yet not machine. She knew my name, and she knew others' names, and she seemed to have some kind of…" He pauses there and trails off. "She told us about a tower where the cylons had been conducting human experiments of some kind. We found others there like her, though I can't understand for the life of me why they abandoned it like they did. There was also a tape that was in the possession of a news crew we found down there, I.. well, I didn't get a good look at it, but I think there was talk of some of our people having been cloned? Salt, that kid who used to fly under Kefir.."

"It could not be helped. We did need every Viper stick at our disposal to try and get those planes off," Cidra says. A wry snort. "Such as I am. Well. What little I have been able to glean in here, it seems we overall fared not too badly in that. Twenty-seven planes recovered. A win, as matters are measured tactically." Her tone makes it unclear if that's how she's measuring it just now. She quiets as he speaks, though, head rolling to focus on him as she listens. Blue eyes focused on his face. Still trying to catch his eyes. "Yazdah…" She repeats the name, murmuring it, as if trying to puzzle it somehow. Though she seems to find nothing in it. His account makes her shudder. "Clones. Abominations…I heard some of this. About humans working with Cylons, perhaps. There was something found on Leonis that implicated Rear Admiral Abbot as one of these…collaborators. Lucky told me about Salt. Lieutenant Shaker. I remember him. I saw him in chapel at times. He seemed most faithful…" This is the detail that sticks in her mind, and seems to unnerve her. She clears her throat. "What do you mean, 'knew things'…about the ship? More spies, do you think? Shaker must have been. Or whatever it was we called Shaker…"

"Yazdah," Shiv repeats, shaping the name on his tongue like the foreign word it is; and still studying his tea without sipping at it. "Eleven." His brows furrow slightly then smoothe, and he gives a little shake of his head. "Knew things about us." He looks up finally. "It's.. I'd say it's entirely possible that Salt was a spy. Abbot, maybe. There might be others. Where the hell that leaves us, I don't frakking know."

Cidra sips at her own tea deeper, watching Sitka over the cup. She seems about to press more about this Yazdah creature. But in the end she does not. "I do not know, either," she admits soft. "But we remain. We still do remain." It's a refrain she often goes back to. Another sip, another soft clearing of her throat. "Well, we are at least flying at full force again. And aerospace fabrication is back online, so Engineering tells me, so we can repair our ships in some manner of propriety as well. As for Abbot…he is being dealt with. Majors Tillman and Cavanaugh detained him when word came back from Leonis. It was…it was uglier than it should have been. You cannot do that sort of thing clean. But at least it was within the letter of the law. The admiral shall be investigated and…I suppose we shall see where that leads. I almost hope we were all terribly wrong. Abbot had access to everything on this ship. Every personnel record, ever weapons' system and computer file…it chills the marrow to contemplate what he could have done if he is one of…them."

Sitka remains quiet as the woman goes into more detail about the fleet's Admiral Commanding Officer, though a slight frown touches the very corners of his mouth. He sips finally, sucks a trickle off his thumb, and sets his cup aside on the little end table by Cidra's cot. "I hate to chill your marrow even more, sir, but it might explain the feeling I've had since nearly this war began, that they've been a step ahead of us constantly. Like they're herding us somewhere, anticipating everything we do. Maybe it's just.." He shakes his head and offers her a weak smile— and a heartbeat's eye contact. "..maybe it's nothing. Just paranoia."

"It would make a horrific kind of sense, would it not?" Cidra murmurs, meeting his gaze. Her own is troubled. "But no. I do not think it just paranoia. And if it is, it is paranoia I would trust right now. It is not just Abbot. Or he has allies, if he is one of them. I think that likely. After he was detained, the sabotage on the ship did not stop. You recall, I am sure, when a Viper near exploded on the flight deck." His Viper. Yeah. "There were more incidents after you lot went down to Leonis. You remember Lieutenant Nostos? He was leaving the tubes and he just…exploded. Gone. Nowhere near enemy fire, nowhere near our own flack. Just…gone. And even after Abbot was detained. Did you know Ensign Villon? Young girl in the Mighty Lions. Sweet girl. Someone tampered with her air supply. Too much C-O-Two. Not enough oxygen. She was poisoned. They herd us and they hunt us, out there and perhaps still in here…"

Sitka seems to have lost his taste for the tea; it's left sitting on the little table, steam wisping into the cooler air while Cidra speaks. The Captain, himself, breaks eye contact in order to examine his nails. No longer dirt-caked, they're practically worn down to the quick. His hands themselves bear the marks of close combat. "Yeah, I remember Nostos," he murmurs. "Villon, too. Why would someone do this? It's like.." A pregnant pause. "I remember some of the fighting, before I left Sagittaron. The military would bomb some factory where they figured the insurgents were making guns—" Which was pretty much Aera Yazd's claim to fame, if Cidra is in the know. "-and the insurgents would kidnap a few green Corporals at pistol point, dismember them and send them back to their commanding officer. Just.. shit like that, not a war so much as trying to demoralise each other into.. into what, I don't know." He scrubs the heel of his hand across his cheek again, those last words dropped to a mumble.

Cidra holds her teacup but stops drinking, head tilting against the pillow behind her as she listens to that. "My gods…Ibrahim…" Again, there seems to be something she half wants to ask, or say to all that. But it's again left unspoken. "You are right, though. It is like such things. The why of it is what chills me. The colonies the Cylons set out to destroy. Or try to. That is one thing. But terrorizing us like that, and these…experiments you speak of, these clones…it is beyond comprehension to me."

Sitka breathes out slowly when Cidra speaks his name, as if having not been fully aware that he was holding it. One booted foot is drawn up to rest at his knee, and an absent little tug given his blues jacket. "You know what really frakking baffles me?" His eyes rove closer to Cidra's paler blues, skirting them like a cat at a half-dead mouse. "Yazdah. The one I spoke with. I don't think she agreed with what they've been doing. She and a couple other.. skinbags. Skinjobs. Whatever you want to call them. They were arguing. What's more, she called off a good hundred Centurions who'd been moving in on our position when we found her. Why? I want to know why."

Cidra's eyes narrow to slits. "This creature assisted you?" This only adds to the troubled look in her eyes, mixing it with another measure of confusion. "Perhaps it was a trick of some kind. Some of them come at you with guns. Other make you think they may be friends. Shaker did pretend to be our comrade. If it was him. I wonder…what happened to the real Ryan Shaker? Or…whatever this Yazdah of yours was before she was…cloned?" A shake of her head. She doesn't even want to contemplate the possible answers.

"She did," Shiv confirms. "She didn't seem to be playing at anything, but after everything I've heard about Abbot and Shaker, maybe.. maybe you're right." As to the latter, a rather impotent shrug of one shoulder's given, and his lips twitch again with something that approaches amusement. His Yazdah, indeed. "Was there anything else you wanted to know about, sir?" he asks finally. Seeing as his reports tend to be terminally late, it might be her last chance to ask questions in this lifetime.

Cidra regards Sitka, studying that twitch of his lips. But, again, no questions are pressed just now. She shakes her head. "No. That is enough to chew on, I do think. I thank you. And I thank you for the tea. I shall see you soon, I think. Doctor Bia has said I can likely return to the berthings when a doctor is free to look me over and clear me. All told I was quite fortunate. Dislocated my shoulder, tore some muscle but a bit of therapy and a week or so of light duty, I shall be back on the flight line, I am told." It is noted in as off-hand a way as she can manage, but she can't quite hide her relief. "Just one more matter. Ensign Apostolos. How did she handle herself, down on Leonis?" The question is vague enough for him to fill it in however he likes. She seems as much curious about what it will prompt as anything else.

"No problem, Cid -" Er. "Sir." This time, he favours the woman with an actual smile, enough to sketch fine crow's feet at the corners of his eyes. Mention of Apostolos, oddly enough, banishes the warmth completely. It's like he's been swung at in his blind spot; he blinks sharply before responding, "She, uh, she conducted herself very well, actually. She and Kolettis both." Composure mostly returned, he continues, "She's still got some, uh, some impulse control issues, and she's been.. well, gun shy I guess, ever since her blowout with—" And he stops again, and gives a little 'heh'. "I shouldn't speak ill of the dead."

Cidra makes a soft "Ah" sound. Not pursuing that which might speak ill of the dead, either. The reaction makes her head tilt. Curious. "I ask because I see in her much quality. And it is time we filled up the ranks a bit. It is easier for me to judge the Raptor personnel. As much because I fly with them more closely as for any other reason. She was the first of the Viper pilots that came to mind for advancement, though."

Sitka drops the booted foot that'd been resting against his knee, probably in preparation for imminent departure. It's also a convenient cover for the brief spat of discomfiture he didn't quite manage to hide. "I guess it depends on why you're looking to promote, sir. If you want my opinion, I think she needs a little more time to get her own head straight, before she has any business being in charge of anyone else. But I guess the same could be said for a few of us. Guess we don't have that luxury, necessarily." Which seems to lead him to, "Who's going to be taking over for the Knights?"

"We have all run out of luxuries and best choices," Cidra says. A pause. More tea is drunk. She's finished off her cup by now. "The only choice is Sophronia, really." And she does not sound discontented with that at all, though there is again that faint note of questioning to him. "She has stepped up most well since she returned from Leonis. And, for all her faults, her heart is in the protection of this ship. I do not think it will fall easy on her, though."

It isn't precisely surprise that colours the Captain's expression; perhaps contemplative is a more apt descriptor. He makes a little "hnh" sound in his throat as he climbs to his feet— accompanied by a wince, courtesy of a couple of rounds of Centurion machinegun fire to the chest. "None of us are without faults," he concurs, low-voiced. "We've all done our share of frakking up, and I think like you said, her heart's in the right place. I guess time'll only tell if she's got the chops for it." A glance toward Cidra. "Sure you know as well as me, that running a squad's about more than just heart. And I hope she's the right choice. The Knights could do with some stability."

"They could at that. I pushed Lasher too quickly, I think." And there is a note of self-recrimination in her tone as Cidra speaks of him. "I thought that he…" But she trails off from whatever she was going to say. "Well. He gave his life for those civilians down on the planet, as I understand things. He was a brave man. Sophronia has courage, too. Lucky's main trouble, I think, is that she is too much in her heart and not enough her head." A definite fault, in Cidraville. "Time will tell. Yes. And we are *certainly* none of us made well for this. But, we remain."

"If you need me to, well.. mentor her or anything.." The word is chosen carefully, and with a degree of dissatisfaction; the sentence itself trails off as Shiv's hands slide into his pockets, and his eyes rove about the little cave they've created with shuttered curtains around the CAG's bed. "We had a saying, on Sagittaron: Do little things now; so shall big things come to thee by and by asking to be done. It might, uh, be a good idea, if you haven't considered it, to let Broadside or someone take them under their wing for now. Give her a little more responsibility, see how she takes it. I just…" He shakes his head. "Yeah, never mind. I'm sure she'll be fine, sir."

"I would very much appreciate it if you could," Cidra says, almost right atop of his trailing off. "I did not quite know how to ask such a thing, I will admit. She is a good pilot and does have my trust to lead, but she will be very raw. You are a steadier hand. That would be a good example for her."

Sitka still seems half lost in his own thoughts, still staring at the narrow sliver where curtain meets curtain meets recovery ward proper. He nods toward Cidra as the offer's accepted, and offers a wry smile. "I'll do what I can, sir. And your decision has my full support, even if I'm not sure I agree with its, uh, immediacy, anyway. But I hope to be proven wrong." He clears his throat. "Was there anything else, or should I get out of your hair and let you rest up?"

"You are, indeed, more graceful than Bootstrap," Cidra says wryly. The barest hint of a smile. "I thank you for the tea." And so she lets him go.

This prompts a somewhat self-deprecating quirk of the Captain's lips, to which nothing is actually spoken in accompaniment. He reaches across to touch her good shoulder, just before drawing the curtains aside, "No problem." Then, "I'll see you soon, sir. You'll, uh.. let me know if you want me to drop by, when you're released. Or if there's anything else you need." And then, with a small nod, he turns to go.

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