PHD #237: First Contact
First Contact
Summary: Davis speaks with Cora about her proposed transfer to Tactical.
Date: 21 October 2041 AE
Related Logs: Tactical Mashies
Cora Davis 
The Map Room
It is a room. It has maps.
Post-Holocaust Day: #237

With one side of the equation simplified, there still remains the solution to be found. With one last check of her chronometer, Ensign Hathor runs through a mental checklist. Five minutes early, dress uniform, folder of paperwork lacking only the receiving Department's endorsement… Check, check, check. She reaches up and taps at the back left of her skull for good luck before striding purposefully into the Map Room, looking for a Captain to march before.

Cora is a captain, and she is in the maproom. She wears duty blues, though the neck is unfastened, and she appears to be going over something with a LTJG, gesturing at a map as he makes notations of some sort. She does not look up as Davis enters, continuing with whatever it is she is attending to.

The Ensign finds her target currently engaged. Not particularly unexpected, of course, but a quick glance at the collars tells her where she needs to be. Davis takes up a position just to the side of the door. After stalling with a once-over of the paperwork, Davis takes up a parade-rest posture: Legs just over shoulder-width apart, hands clasped in the small of her back with the folio neatly cradled in them.

Cora is, it seems, quite busy, but she is the TACCO, after all. Her meeting with the LTJG goes on for a few minutes, and then there is a LT she has instructions for on what appears to be a different topic and then after that, she finally turns her attention to Davis standing at the door. "Do you need something, Ensign?" she asks finally, glancing up from the map she leans over, voice pitched to carry across the room.

The Ensign stays at parade rest the entire time, staring straight ahead… aside from the brief glances any time there's sufficient activity near the Captain that she might be finishing off with someone. She is eager, after all. As the only Ensign in the room, her response is quick and sharp as she posts before Cora. With a sharp salute Davis announces, "Ensign Davis Hathor, reporting as ordered. The transfer issue Major Hahn initiated, Sir," she reminds.

There is no immediate recognition of the name in Cora's gaze, but nor is there much of anything besides keen, assessing regard. She watches the salute and the reminder and then nods briefly, "I see. Well, Ensign Hathor, why do you think you would be suited to Tactical?"

"Aye sir." It's more said out of relief than protocol. "In addition to the requisite skillset to be an officer of the Fleet, I have almost a decade of experience instructing and mentoring both motivated and adversarial minds, and equal experience performing administrative duties—four of those years," Davis adds, the facts rolling off her tongue in rote fashion, "in the Picon Space Guards. After my grounding, I performed duties as Captain Sitka's yeoman. This leads to the skillset I can bring which your department does not have organically: I am a rated Viper pilot with combat experience." The young woman takes a breath, but the incipient words are caught as she closes her lips to give Cora the chance to get a word in edgewise.

Cora's demeanor does not alter as Davis speaks, watching and listening with that same, unshifting expression, neutral but for the very clear sense that she is paying close attention. When Davis pauses, she interjects only a question: "And how do you think those skills are applicable to the business of the Tactical department?"

No plan survives first contact and so, while she had expected more verbosity, Davis lets those preconceptions flow around the stony facts. "Sir, no plan survives first contact. Continuous observation leads to reorienting based on new details. Decisions can be made based upon the new orientation, which are then acted upon, allowing a new frame of observation. This loop is something that combat fliers are taught until it becomes a matter of instinct. Captain, with due respect to the diligence and talent of your officers and ratings, I am aware of none of them who have a pilot's perspective. If I have missed a former flier, it's likely they haven't flown recently. Can you state with honest confidence that Intel is able to accurately understand air combat tactics and incorporate them into plans? One step further, what about Cylon aerial tactics? I can bring a perspective your crew needs, Sir. There is no Fleet HQ to call on anymore for air combat analysis and prediction. We, sir, are it."

Stony is a fairly accurate description of Cora; she might well be carved from a block for all that she moves, blue eyes inset lapis. There is another pause after Davis finishes, afterwhich she asks, "How many combat missions have you flown, Ensign Hathor?"

Davis sucks in a quick breath, her eyes closing for longer than a blink requires. "I have flown dozens of CAPs and engaged Raiders on four occasions, Sir. The latest has left me incapable of combat flying…" There is no more pause than a comma here, objectively. The dilating of her pupils and the chilling perspiration both seem to take far longer to the Ensign than the pass of her tongue across suddenly dry lips. Reality snaps back like a reel-to-reel paused, then released. "… yet in full control of my mental faculties."

"Four occasions," Cora echoes, in that crisp Caprican accent, watching Davis carefully through that brief pause. "Your file says that on attempting even a simulation of combat flight, you experience…episodes…in which you are not in full control of your mental faculties. Is that correct?" She does not wait for a reply before continuing, "Have you considered that CIC during combat is a substantially more stressful environment than a sim pod? There are dozens of things happening at once, including a constant wireless feed of the Air Wing coms channels. We hear the battle as it happens, monitor it on our various sensors and hesitation or loss of control in that setting can as easily be deadly for others as a loss of control in the cockpit."

The apprehension that had been welling up inside surprises Davis with how easily it is released once the issue is addressed. "Indeed and I have, Sir. Please…" Lowering her chin, Hathor raises both hands at chest level, spreading her fingers. "We don't have careers anymore, Sir, just lives. I have been reviewing footage and audio of engagements to compile proper debriefs and performance reports for Captain Sitka—rest him," she asides, "since my grounding. If I were susceptible to the same degree outside of a cockpit as I am within, Sir, I would be… looking to apply myself as civilian liaison, or logistics." With a little curl of the lips Davis notes, "You also would have found out about it, I'm sure."

"I would indeed," Cora replies, leaning a hip against the map table, arms crossed idly against her chest, "Such a thing would, I'm sure, be noted in your file. All the same, I would prefer an additional report from a psychiatrist stating that your issues are linked solely to being inside a cockpit and that the disability does not extend beyond that circumstance. These are lives, we're talking about, as you say, ensign," she continues, enunciation precise, but not officiously so, "And frankly, you are not qualified to be taking the lives of the air wing and the fleet into your hands by making decisions regarding the tactics they employ. You have flown in four combat missions total, while the officers involved in planning fleet engagements have not only studied tactics for years, but have also had several times that much hands-on experience since Warday. For you to assume that with four missions and some administrative experience as a yeoman you can out-do them in any fashion toes the line between over-confident and delusional."

A tilt of the head and a slow nod of understanding are the in-line responses; her hands have, of course, returned to rest. "It seems I have not been clear, Sir," Davis responds, quickly segueing into a restatement. "Who I can replace is something we are in agreement on: No-one. I can perform the common duties of an Ensign—as you may recall, department management and daily operations while honing vital skills. In addition, once I've attained the proficiency of a junior grade Lieutenant, these skills will be compounded upon by a practical knowledge of applied aerial combat."

Cora listens to this, and after another moment, finally nods once. "Very well," she says briskly, "You can do little harm as an ensign. So long as you understand the role will not involve you standing about a plotting table telling us how to run air wing combat." Her tone slips dry there but she adds after a moment, "But it seems you do. The papers, then." She holds out a hand for them, a moment later they are signed, and Davis sent off to file them and report to her new supervisor.

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