PHD #249: Five-Oh Talk
PHD #249: Five-Oh Talk
Summary: Lieutenant Vandenberg consults Rose on matters of the civilian police, on the down-low.
Date: 02 Nov 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Rose Vandenberg 
Hangar Deck - Starboard - Midship - Battlestar Cerberus
This Hangar Bay is filled with boxes, crates and other various supplies that are needed throughout the ship. Most have been moved to one end and lashed with tarps to keep them out of the way. The place has gone from extra ship storage on one end and the ability to house over 450 people on the other end. Whatever could be made into cots has been set up like a huge barracks. Some areas have been made more presentable with a few items that belong to the person holding onto their small area in this world. Marines guard this area 24/7 and food is brought in cafeteria style, feeding people out of vats and buckets as they line up with their plates. One area has been tarped off to the side, that holds canvas showers and sinks. As a small improvement in the standard of living, the Head, showers, and sinks have been hooked up to running water and sewage, meaning that they no longer stink or need to be cleaned daily.
Post-Holocaust Day: #249

Another day in the life of a survivor. It's better off than being planetside, irradiated and being chased by Cylons… or at least that's what they keep telling them. Some days on the starboard hangar are fairly quiet, bustling with the noise of over five hundred civilian survivors. Other days, like today, it's fairly noisy, with Sagittaron and dissident rabble going on in one of the far ends of the hangar. Anti-military slogans and other obscenities are being shouted at some of the MP on duty, making it generally tense and unwelcome for both resident and visiting military personnel.

At the opposite end of the hangar, polarized away from the shouting rabble, some of the more agreeable, peaceful civilians are going about their daily lives. Some spend their time mending and sorting what clothes are available to be distributed; others sort the variety of public supplies that have been provided from the scavenging on Aerilon. And others still provide each other social and emotional support when needed, and that is the task G. Rose Ibbhanas finds herself in this early afternoon. Over by what appears to be an old-style blackboard, complete with chalk and a horizontal rule, Rose sits on an overturned crate, offering consolation and scriptural guidance to several similarly-aged folk. On the chalkboard itself appears to be a variety of neatly-written formulae and chemical formulas, but occasionally overlapping and not grouped correctly.

The Lieutenant has to dodge a few insults of her own while making her way through the crowd. None of it seems to bother her, though. For the most part, Vandenberg just seems to give the angry folk looks that say 'Really? Did you just say that? Are you five years old?' as she moves through. Despite her height, the woman carries a hard edge of confidence that would be hard to dispute. She can probably back it up, too. Approaching Rose she stops nearby and folds her hands behind her back, keeping an eye on the crowds. She's dressed in her official browns but does not look like she is here to interrupt or cause problems for a soul.

"And that's why the scriptures tell us that a jackdaw is always found near a jackdaw," Rose instructs the two other individuals, who are apparently recent recoveries from Aerilon, and are overly disturbed by the living conditions and the dissidents across the way. Reaching out her hands to the both of them, but rather touch them herself, both individuals take her hand in theirs. "If you ever need anything, you know where to find me. Also, there's a fellow by the name of Tyr Bannik. Mr. Bannik is a sort of lay-chaplain that comes and visits on occasion. He's also quite nice to talk to." After saying their thanks and goodbyes, the two new folk move on. Once they've made their way, Rose gives a tired sigh and puts her face in both of her hands.

Vandenberg watches the two Aerilonians depart and takes a soft step closer. One of the benefits of being short? Boots don't tend to thunk around with the same foreboding clatter. "Its never easy leading civilians, Miss Ibbhanas. Its a little like herding bipolar cats." Natalie removes a hand from behind her back to extend towards the woman. "Lieutenant Vandenberg," comes the introduction. "I was hoping you had a moment in private?"

At Vandenberg's greeting, Rose starts slightly, wiping a finger underneath each eye and brushing away anything incriminating with the back of her hand. "I-I'm sorry, I didn't hear you coming," she says, peering towards Natalie, but off to the side. She doesn't reach out to take the hand, and it's finally clear why: her eyes are clouded over with what appear to be rather thorough cataracts. She stands up from the crate and begins fretting with the hem of her sweater, as if worried by her appearance. "I got your message. My associate, Mrs. Hammond, read it to me. I can promise you she'll keep its contents strictly confidential. We can… talk, over here? No one will bother us." She reaches down to the crate, producing a folded whitestick, which she snaps open deftly, and then begins tapping over towards the hangar wall where some supply boxes are stacked.

Natalie realizes she probably looks like an idiot holding out a hand to a blind person. Sigh. She opens and closes her hand a few times before bringing it back behind her. "No trouble. Though if I had known you were blind I probably would have delivered that myself. Though I suspect your friend will probably become better informed on the matter should you accept my ideas." The Marine stays close to Rose, her eyes drifting over the people around them. Some habits die hard. "But before I say anything else I wanted to hear your opinions on the matter. Anything that comes to mind like concerns or questions or whatever you feel needs to be addressed." The Lieutenant, while being professional, seems to be treating this as more of a service to Rose than anything else. Maybe she really did mean what she said in the note.

Rose comes to a halt by the boxes, and turns to face Natalie. When the Marine speaks, it's as if she's paying extra attention to her words and her voice. occasionally tilting her head towards the woman. "Well, I've put this matter to some thought, really," the younger woman begins. "Relocating some or all of the civilians, based on the needs of the freighter and what it can accommodate, and putting them under the continued presence of Marine police is, well, unfortunately - and I mean this without a slight against you or your uniform -" She insists quite sincerely on that last part. "It's a mistake. There are people here willing to work if it only meant getting out from under the military's constant presence. As you can tell, today being a bad day for the hangar, some people aren't willing to do anything but rail against the machine that protects us."

The Lieutenant shakes her head emphatically. "Ma'am? I don't tke any offense to that. To put it bluntly, the Marines are not meant to be a police force. They are an organization trained from the ground up to kill. When they are forced to police civilians, bad things happen. Military Police, by their own name, polices the military. Its why the government has always kept the military and police as two very distinct entities. I don't think I can fully blame them for being so upset." Vandenberg seems quite serious about this belief. "Which is why I believe this may be a workable option for you all. Given the chance, I think the civilians would prefer to police themselves. I mentioned the idea to our Company S-Two who is our intelligence and security head. He liked the idea. The civilians taking charge of themselves would also free-up our resources by not forcing us to station personnel down here."
<MAIL> You have a new message from Serpens.

Rose blinks a few times, listening intently. It seems she is gradually homing in on the Marine officer's face, rather than staring at a vague point in her general proximity. "I agree. About the civilian police force, I mean," she quickly adds. "I'm sure there are a few law enforcement types in the mix that would be grateful to ply their trade again. However, until such a force is staffed, trained, and equipped… we'll have to compromise, I think? Maybe have a limited Marine presence aboard, while the training is done? We could even begin looking for candidates now, but… well, we're not quite sure exactly what the ratio is going to be for civilians to hydroponics gear. The more cubic meters I have to deal with, the more tons of food can be produced per day." Did she say 'tons of food per day'?

"Aye. You actually touched on a concern that I think the Marines would have." Here comes the complex part. Natalie takes a long breath and crosses her arms. "Look, there are concerns that the civilians will take the ship and run. That they might mutiny and attempt to do something with the freighter. What that is and the sanity of those concerns can be debated all day, but the fact remains that I don't think the Marines would be willing to fully train and equip a civilian police force. The guns can provide the power and however remote the possibility, I think there may be concern that your police force may take advantage of that."

Rose nods slowly, taking in her concerns. "I have a simple answer, although I must confess I'm ignorant about military procedure," she begins. "Why not create an office for the Marine Corps aboard the freighter, as well as a liaison to the Navy? That way, there's always a presence, but the less savory and scrupulous individuals that may call the new freighter their home won't immediately think to run away with it. I mean, I remember reading or seeing something about civilian contractors that serviced a military base. They had something like these liaison officers to ensure a smooth flow of information and materials back and forth." She grimaces slightly, and then bites her lower lip. "I'm rambling, aren't I?"

"Heh. No, ma'am. Not rambling. The ideas are good. I'm here because I want this to work, not because I want to sabotage it." Rose can probably hear the smile in Vandenberg's voice. "The office is a good idea but I am concerned about the stationing of a single officer or Marine there for potential security liaison issues. Its one of those things that the Marines either do all-out or not at all. But I think you may be on to something." She sways to the left and puts weight onto a hip as she looks off, deep in thought. "Look. I have some concerns of my own about a police force like this." Her voice turns back towards Rose. "Typically the people that would volunteer for a police force think they are volunteering for a militia. You get yahoos who want a gun and a badge so they can feel important or lord over other people. What I'd want are professional men and women who want an honest chance to make a difference. The finest quality of person that you can muster. I know it sounds cliche, but you really want to have a police force full of people that are respected for their intelligence and fairness. Understand what I'm saying? A project like this could take your best and brightest into a different career."

Rose scratches the top of her ear with a finger, apparently thinking as to how to solve this issue. Her brows knit in thought. "Eliminate or limit the conditions for abuse of power, and you'll get fewer individuals apply to abuse that power," she murmurs. Then, her face lights up, and she snaps her fingers: "Well, you could start by removing the gun," she suggests. "I know it'd probably not be a popular idea, but there's no reason why any of our police need to be armed with firearms. Leave that to the military, to protect us against the Cylons. That would justify a larger Marine presence on the freighter, wouldn't you think?"

"Aye. Removing the gun would be an option. However that has its own problems. Especially when trying to subdue a strong and violent suspect." Natalie taps her boot on the deck plating and looks down past herself to the floor absently. "We could do roving patrols on the ship, but I'm afraid that it would A) undermine the authority of your police force and B) still be seen as a military control. Further? If you all were boarded by the Cylons? You all would be damned near defenseless. That idea alone makes me hesitate about disarming you all. We could get a strike team to the ship quickly, but it may not be fast enough. Understand what I'm saying?"

Sighing, looking mildly defeated, Rose nods slowly. "I do understand your point. I think, though, that those willing to have their freedom, in their own ship of sorts, and working to promote the health and sustainability of the fleet, would be willing to take that risk. I know I am." She tries to put on a hopeful smile, although the stickiness of the situation makes her enthusiasm a little diminished. But it's short lived: "Ooh!" She bounces on the balls of her feet. "I can think if a way to limit casualties. Do you know the old war reels they used to show, about how kids would get under their desks during an air raid? You know, like in the first Cylon war. Or folks would gather in bunkers. Why not enforce a sort of 'curfiew' or 'back to quarters' drill, where folks drop everything and lock themselves behind bulkheads. If the Cylons, or anyone for that matter, truly wanted to hurt someone, they'd have to deliberately go after them. And the Marine presence could be located near the sensitive areas of the ship, like wherever the fuel and engines are maintained. Maybe?" She shrugs lightly. "I'm not really that good at this," she says depreciatingly.

Vandenberg doesn't interrupt. She doesn't even seem to react initially to the ideas presented. The Lieutenant just looks off to the side and slits her eyes as she thinks it over for a few seconds. "Mmmmmaybe. See, its like this: If you all were boarded, the Cylons probably wouldn't bother looking for anyone in particular. They would probably go for the bridge, life support, or engineering. They'd just take control of the ship and crash it into this one or one of the frigates. You all would have to face an all-out battle for yourselves. This ship is more than just freedom, Miss Ibbhanas. Its a responsibility. You think these people here are ready to give their very lives to defend their ship from a boarding action? I'm not trying to sew bluster or bravado either. Its a genuine concern. Its something you police force would need to deal with. Potentially under teh command of Marines."

"I guess I'm really not the person you should be talking to, then," says the redhead, chewing on her lower lip again. "I mean, I'm not sure what else I can do to help. If you need people, I have them. They can be screened to whatever criteria you want. But, if you want to arm this police force, like you said, there will probably be an influx of hot-heads and those with unsavory ideas applying, and I can't control peoples' thoughts." A pause. "I am sorry. I wish I had a concise answer for you, but I'm not really a people-person." Of course, Natalie now knows otherwise.

"No, I think I have the right person." Natalie smirks and shifts her weight to her other hip. "Look. This is a serious concern that should be addressed. However, its not an unsolvable situation. People react to you and they will listen. I can provide criteria but if you want to work with me on this, I am more than willing to help. I just don't think that the military should be picking favorites. I'd like you to use your intuition for this. Talk to people. Get to know them. See if its something they might be interested in. Typically? You'll want people who aren't interested but you know would be good at it. Think you want to try and pursue this? It'd be pretty hard to deny once you have a viable force quietly recruited and taking care of itself. Especially if it starts here on the Cerberus."

Rose initially looks hesitant, but nods. "It's the least I can do," she states. "After all Major Cavanaugh and Lieutenant Raine have done for me, I can give back on this. I'll start seeing what I can do to spread the word through those folk that aren't prone to blow things out of proportion. If you like, I can also look for those who have previous experience in law enforcement? Maybe tap them for some assistance?"

That's the response Natalie was looking for. Her smile grows as she dips her head. "That would be the first step. Anyone with prior law enforcement experience would be a great start. Security guards I would be hesitant about. Usually they want to be cops but there are reasons that they never made it. I would also look for people that are respected within their own groups. Natural leaders. People who know they aren't perfect but are rising to the occasion because its needed." Her hands drop and clasp behind her again. "Anyhow, that's all I wanted to go over with you. Hit some points of consideration. Is there anything you want to ask me about?"

Rose folds her hands together in front of her, about halfway down her whitestick. "Um, nothing for me," she says quietly. "Although, as a personal favor, would you… um… watch after Major Cavanaugh? She was very tired the last time I saw her. I wouldn't want her to work herself to the bone or anything." A small smile ends her request. "That's all."

"I can try, though I suspect half the problem of her being tired is myself." Vandenberg doesn't seem to have an opinion on whether or not this is a Good Thing. "I'm a little mroe aggressive than I think she would prefer. I make some people nervous. The ship's Marine Detachment was originally intended to be police with a small accompaniment of rifles. But I'll do my best. Its a leadership style. There will need to be adjustments all around." She takes a long breath, then. "Thank you for the time. Let me know what you find out from your civilians and we'll see if I can't help you make this a reality. Good to meet you, Miss Ibbhanas."

"And to you, Lieutenant," Rose dips her head in a sort of subservient half-bow. "And thank you for coming down here. Next time, I'll come up to you! No worries!"

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