PHD #281: FOE
Summary: Vandenberg takes Robinson to meet a potentially unhappy ally.
Date: 04 Dec 2041 AE
Related Logs: A Kind Word and a Gun
Robinson Vandenberg NPC Hydra Volans 
Its in the set.
Post-Holocaust Day: #281

The coordinates given by Ieuan to Vandenberg turn out to be in a different part of the suburban sprawl surrounding the city of Minos. It's a cookie-cutter subdivision, in fact, streets lined by duplexes identical in every way but color (there are five, they alternate) and the occasional landscaping detail. The neighborhood appears abandoned, and shows plenty of signs of damage, both from the bombs and fighting afterwards.

The Raptor has already touched down and a few of the crew brought along are unloading supplies. Vandenberg, armed with her GMAR, is keeping a close eye on the houses for the moment and standing beside the crew. She doesn't look like she's out for blood but the woman does appear to be ready for just about anything. "If they want us to leave, we'll keep in contact on Tac One. Any trouble, get out of here at the first sign and contact Cerberus," she calls out to the crew.

Every team needs their medic. Today, said medic is PA-C Robinson. Over one arm she has slung her rifle (she wouldn't be a proper Marine if she didn't have one of those), and over her other arm she has slung her medkit. Disembarking the raptor in quick order, she gazes about. Okay. Just looks like an average, run of the mill, type of place…of course, that doesn't mean anything these days. But it's bound to be good to know your surroundings, wherever you are.

There is movement, somewhat abruptly, as the door to one of the houses swings open. "Lieutenant," Ieuan calls, stepping out onto the porch. He is armed, but the weapon remains in the shoulder holster he wears. Simultaneously with his appearance, the marines will become aware of others — they must be Cymkeitros as well — appearing in windows all around the area, all armed. Just in case. "Please, come join me," their leader suggests, gesturing at, of all things, a small arrangement of chairs on the little porch.

When the man appears, Van's eyes turn towards him immediately but there's no shift of the rifle across her chest. She looks around at the windows as shadows begin to appear in them and a wry smirk crosses her. There's a tilt of her head from Robinson to Ieuan's location. "C'mon, Ensign. Mind your P's and Q's while we're here, too." She winks to the other woman and starts towards the porch while boxes are reaching the end of their stacking. Stepping onto the porch, Vandenberg dips her head to the man. "Sir. Proper introductions this time. I'm Lieutenant Natalie Vandenberg. Bravo Company, First Battalion, Ninth Marines. I want to start off by saying that we're delivering medical supplies, food, and anti-radiation dosages. I've brought along a medical professional if you have anyone who needs assistance." She gestures to Robinson for her to make her introductions.

Robinson tilts her gaze in the direction of Ieuan as he appears and speaks. And there's more with him? Really, that was expected. And that, as they say, would be that. She gives Van a little smirk as the start toward the porch. "Don't you worry, sir. They're minded. And I'll be minding yours as well. After all, what good is an ensign if they can't keep track of everything for their el-tees?" Once on the porch, she waits for Vandenberg to do all her introductions before she tilts her head. "I'm Ensign Ida Robinson. Bravo Company, First Battalion, Ninth Marines, Fifth Squad, PA-C, at your service. I'm here to help on the medical side of things."

"Lieutenant Vandenberg," Ieuan amends his greeting and adds, "Ensign Robinson. Please, sit." He gestures them towards the porch swing, which remains remarkably intact, and takes one of the chairs opposite for himself. "As I mentioned when we last met, my name is Ieuan Kohepoulos," he says, "I represent the Cymkeitros family, as well as a group of assorted survivors who have come to us over the long months since the bombs hit. I thank you for the supplies you've brought. If the ensign here is willing and able, there are also a few of our group who are in need of immediate attention." He gestures in the air with one hand, some sort of signal, and whatever it is seems to be relayed through those watching and those in the house, as there are footsteps to be heard coming towards the front door. "Perhaps Ensign Robinson could see to them here while we talk, Lieutenant."

Natalie dips her head in thanks to the offered seat and she takes it, settling the rifle in the sling as she does so. "I have no objections to it whatsoever. Ensign? If you'd like to see to them right away? If we have anyone that needs more urgent care, contact me on the radio and I'll call for a medevac." She then turns her attention to the man across from her and fingers the stock on her rifle. "So Mister Kohepoulos, please tell me what else we can do for you before I go into to what we can offer. If you have any concerns, as you said you would, I'll answer what I can. As truthfully as possible."

Robinson offers a little nod. "Yes…yes, of course. I'd be happy to see them now." She says with a kind smile. "I'll just head right inside then? Is there someone who will be able to lead me to those in need of assistance?" She might as well ask while she's here, instead of bumbling around trying to find the people. She looks toward the door as she hears the sounds of footfalls that seem to be coming from inside the house that they are on the porch of.

Those footfalls eventually lead to an actual person exiting the house. A young woman, in definitely still less than twenty, dark and slender. She's not *visibly* armed and there's a makeshift bandage - which looks like it was once a red bandana - tied around her forearm.

"Good," Ieuan says as Vandenberg agrees and Robinson as well. He shakes his head at the ensign, "Well, the first patient is coming to you. There are another few you can deal with in the house as need be. Luckily we have a nurse among us who is able to deal with things in the first instance, at least. Ah, Mair," he greets the girl who exits with a warm smile, and gestures her towards a seat, "This is Lieutenant Vandenberg and Ensign Robinson. The ensign is a physician's assistant, she's offered to look at your arm." He watches the young women for a moment and then turns back to Vandenberg. "Obviously, my first question is what is going on," he says, "We've been cut off here since the end of February. The Cylons left this region, at least, some months ago. What is the current status of the war?"

Natalie nods once to the question. First things first. "The Cylons conducted large scale nuclear bombardments of all twelve colonies, sir. Tauron was hit rough but falls near the middle on the scale of destruction. We believe their motivation was a complete genocide of the human race." She shifts a bit in the swingchair, tilting her head a touch forward. "Currently? The war is pretty lopsided. What is left of the colonial fleet is conducting rescue operations on the colonies that have been abandoned by the Cylons. It has been a lot of guerrilla operations in space since Warday, sir. There's no two ways about it: the human race is heavily outnumbered and out-gunned but we aren't going quietly into the night, either."

Robinson gives a little nods to Ieuan before smiling to the young woman with the arm sling. "Mair?" She asks, approaching her. "My name is Ida. I'm here to help. Would you like to take a seat while I take a look at your arm?" She asks softly. "I may have a couple questions for you as well, okay? And if you have any questions for me at all, you can ask me. It doesn't matter how the question may sound. I'm happy to answer any questions that you'd have, okay?" She speaks softly and kindly as she motions toward a seat for Mair.

"Bullet grazed it. Nurse says it ain't mending right. Hi," Mair says to Robinson, seating herself and offering her bandana'd arm to the PA-C. She gives the woman a slightly narrow look. "Questions? Like what? Ain't like it burns when I pee or anything, so if you're gonna ask about, like, guys or something you can just step off."

Ieuan's gaze slides away from Vandenberg's, refocuses into the middle distance as the lieutenant answers his question, his head bowing slightly. He nods at the last, and then nods some more, a moment or so required before he speaks again. "That is not surprising, I suppose," he replies, "For it to take 8 months for the military to arrive in the capital, well… it could not imply anything good." He nods silently again, and then once more, glancing over at Mair and Robinson before asking, "And these rescue operations. What do they involve? You mentioned the Raupatu were currently staying in your encampment. Is there something longer-term plan? Even with the anti-radiation medication you've offered — and which we are grateful for, of course — we can't stay here indefinitely. That's become clear."

"Aye. We can't spread our small fleet out to conduct rescue operations across multiple planets at once. Its too risky. We're still getting random attacks, but they have let off for now and we aren't sure why. We're trying to get everyone we can, though." Vandenberg tries to be as honest with the explanation as possible. "The operations involve evacuating everyone that we can off of the colonies we have been to. We certainly will not force anyone to leave if they choose to stay, but eventually supplies will run lower than they already have. Our first stage is relief which is what you are beginning to see right now. We take care of anyone who needs medical attention and get people fed. We have an encampment, yes, where the Raupatu are currently staying. Our longer-term plan is to get people off the planets and moved on to one of our ships. We have people staying on the hangar deck of a battlestar at the moment but we are at capacity. There's a civilian freighter being outfitted to house everyone and its almost ready to be occupied. Beyond that? I'm afraid I can't say what the plan is because I just don't know. Save but for a few small areas of Aerilon and maybe one other colony, long term habitation of almost any planet is out of the question. I'd imagine we'll all be looking for new homes, sir."

Robinson shakes her head at Mair as she takes out a couple plastic gloves, puts them on, and then takes the injured arm in her hands and gently removes the bandana and anything else, such as a shirt sleeve, that might be hiding the injuring. "No. No question about peeing or about guys. Of course, if there's anything else you're worried about, like a cough that you've had for a while or something, than you can tell me about that." She says as she gazes at the arm. "I'm going to gently press down on the injury, and I want you to tell me if it hurts, okay?" She says as she starts to slowly and gently press down on the arm.

"Ow!" Mair exclaims, glaring rather petulantly at Robinson. It hurts, apparently. Though her attention is only half on the PA-C. She obviously and without shame eavesdrops on Vandenberg and Ieuan. "Musta been a lot to do, with as much sweet time as it took you to get here," she snarks to Vandenberg. "We were fighting the toasters for months and what? You just forgot about us while you were off being 'guerillas' for your precious Aerilon and wherever-the-frak else? We had hundreds of people with us when the bombs came down, but between the frakking toasters and…well, we ain't go so many anymore."

Ieuan looks sharply at Mair as she interjects, and then turns back to Vandenberg, not apologizing for the young woman but saying instead, "And will we be welcome on this civilian freighter, Lieutenant? Or are we to be forced to stay here and live off your supplies and our wiles for the few months more they are likely to hold out, because the Raupatu happened to be encounter your people first?"

Van glances to Mair and Robinson as the PA-C presses down. She's been shot enough times in the field to know what its about. The snark gets a blank look in return. "I was trapped on Aerilon doing the same thing, Mair. Hundreds of people were lost from the group I was with and it hurts just the same. The fleet is doing everything it can." She tries to be as cautious about it as possible. She then looks back to Ieuan and cocks her head to the side. "I'm glad that's understood, sir. That we simply ran into them first. I had hoped yesterday would not make it appear that they were some kind of mercenary force working for us. We were simply assisting in what we were told were salvage operations." She wets her lips before continuing. "I can't see any reason right now why you all would be left behind. At all. As for living on the freighter? I'm not sure. Given the animosity between your group, sir, and theirs? We may be forced to separate your people. However, that's just a possibility and certainly not a point of fact. It would not be my decision to make either. Though I have more than personal curiosity about what the root of the conflict is."

Robinson bobs her head ever so slightly. "Okay. Well, I've got something to help with the pain, luckily." She states, pointedly ignoring the glare. She's seen enough glares already in the time she's worked as a medic that they're beginning to just not phase her any more. "I'm going to give you a shot of medication to dull the pain, alright? And then I'm going to give you some antibiotics. It looks as if an injection is beginning to form. Luckily, though, the infection is just in its early stages, so it should be easily gotten rid of. And we've got more antibiotics in the medical supplies we've brought here, so there should be more than enough to get rid of it." She says kindly. "After I give you the shots, I'll put a new bandage on your arm, and try to properly set it, alright?"

"I was not making a determination on the relationship the military currently holds to Ezra Taim, lieutenant," Ieuan replies, his tone a bit flat, "But I can confidently state that had you met us first, you would not have appeared so friendly with him. I hope, however, that you are speaking truthfully for your superiors when you say that there is no closer relationship to him and his 'raupatu' than to any other survivors on this planet. It would be manifestly unjust for them to receive preferential treatment whether out of favoritism or lucky timing." He watches Mair and Robinson for another moment, and then turns back to say, "Ezra Taim has a grudge against my family, one he has pursued for many years. He tolerated us when the Cylons were here and he had no choice, but as soon as they left he took possession of as many supplies as he could and set off on his own, leaving us to fend for ourselves. The conflict you saw is not the first time he's resorted to lethal force to try to prevent us from getting the supplies we need to survive."

Vandenberg listens quietly, not wanting to interrupt one bit of what he has to say. When he finishes, she simply nods and takes a breath. "We've been dealing with him as the representative of the Raupatu so in that matter he has had to be dealt with as such. Same as yourself, sir. However his people are receiving the same care that you all will be. If anyone is receiving preferential treatment, it is beyond my knowledge." Natalie is as adamant about giving the man the truth as she knows it as she could possibly be. The thought of Taim acting like Ieuan claims is something else that sours her expression. "That a fact?" she asks rhetorically, the LT's voice dry. "I've seen one of his people, a guy named Eddie, appear nervous about Taim. And his actions the other day have forced us to re-examine our dealings with him personally. But, we are not going to punish a group for the actions of one. But Taim will be dealt with, and that comes directly from the Lieutenant who arrested him yesterday." Harsh words. She's obviously not happy with Taim. At all.

"I feel real bad for you, lady," is Mair's only response to Van's words about being stuck on Aerilon. "But you all woulda come in a lot handier like six months ago." Bitter Mair is bitter. Though she does manage a soft, "Thanks" to Robinson. Mention of Eddie makes her dark eyes widen a little. And mouth settle into a sullen, thoughtful pout. She drops her voice even further. For Robinson alone. "You see Eddie…umm…tell him I'm glad he's not dead, okay?"

Ieuan along with Vandenberg, the motion more acknowledgement than clear agreement. "Ah, Eddie," he repeats the name with a hint of wry amusement before going on, "Ezra Taim is a capable man, and an invaluable one during the time when the Cylons were here. He has many skills, which he uses well and to the benefit of those he leads. Unfortunately, he is also blinded by old prejudices and ridiculous paranoias, and that has only grown worse these last few months. I am not sure he is entirely well in his mind, Lieutenant, to be perfectly honest. He has a loyal core among his group, those who think and feel as he does, but many are just survivors picked up at random along the way, as our many we care for here."

Vandenberg dips her head once. "We're all different people when we have to go to battle. Its amazing the sides of us that show when the chips are down and what we're willing to do." She leans forward on the chair, clasping her hands together. "So you believe he's not well. Okay. These prejudices are the reason for the animosity then, I take it?" She pauses. "Is this guy Eddie one of the ones who was just picked up? I get the idea he's not terribly loyal."

Ieuan seems relaxed, here in his semi-reclined seat on this porch in the suburbs at the end of the world. Hands folded in his lap, he shrugs broad-ish shoulders at Vandenberg and replies, "I don't pretend to know what all goes on inside Ezra Taim's head. I doubt it's a pretty place, Lieutenant. But he does have old prejudices and grudges against my family and my associates, and he's choosing to pursue them even now, so you can make what you like of that. Personally I think it would be idiotic even if it were justified. This is neither the time nor the place for old grievances." As for Eddie, Ieuan's lips quirk slightly. "Something like that. Eddie is a good kid, but he's just that; a kid."

"I have to agree, sir. What he did to your man wasn't something a rational person does. I can't imagine anyone trying to pursue old grudges at this point in humanity's history, either. The battlegroup ran into a terrorist group called the SSLF on Sagittaron during rescue operations." The Lieutenant shakes her head. "They opted to stay and die on Sag rather than accept our help. Thinking like that is just something I can't understand and it runs along the same lines as apparently Mister Taim's does." Natalie looks to her folded hands for a moment before lifting her gaze back to Ieuan. "Is there a lot of that going on here, sir? I spent a few tours here before Warday. I know Tauron can be a rough place for a grudge. Have the people more or less seen past them to what is important or are there a lot of people like Ezra Taim out there?"

"Neither can I, Lieutenant," Ieuan agrees, "We've done our best to be welcoming to whoever needs our help, regardless of whether we had ties to them before or not. Taim started off that way, but he just won't budge when it comes to people tied to my family. Anyone else, fine, doesn't matter what they did, but us, he'll kill on sight, as you saw. That was my uncle Rhystai," he adds soberly, expression even, lips thin, "Taim has been after him for years. But we all liked Margot — Margot DeSoto, she was a union leader, and led our resistance group after the attacks. She was a good woman, someone everyone could respect, and follow. After she was murdered, Taim spun off on his own, and out of control."

"I also wanted to say, sir, that I appreciate the restraint you showed during that incident. Losing someone like that, especially a family member, isn't something I could imagine anyone brushing off." Vandenberg keeps her eyes on Ieuan's. Its obvious by her tone and expression that she really means what she is saying. But that last bit of information really surprises the Marine. "Your two groups used to be united under one flag? Under a woman named DeSoto? What happened to her? Was Taim involved with her somehow?"

Ieuan's lips press together a little more thinly and he nods. "I won't pretend it didn't appeal to me in that moment to attack Taim myself," he says, "But we've lost enough people, these last months, and while I would not mourn over his grave, I wouldn't risk my own people, or his, if I can avoid it." His expression is grim, posture faintly stiffer than it was before. His nod in answer to the marine's question is a tight one. "Yes. Margot DeSoto was a union leader in Minos before the attacks, someone Taim and I were both familiar with. When survivors fled after the bombs fell she rallied people to her, from a variety of different groups and factions. She was murdered in a massive Centurion attack, one we later learned was ordered by a woman named Constance Merta, who was really a Cylon mole. Taim took her prisoner. I don't know what he did with her. I imagine it was not pretty."

"I appreciate that line of thinking, sir. No kidding. We can't afford to keep killing each other. We've had some problems with that in the past, too." Vandenberg looks apologetic as she says it. As Ieuan speaks, the Lieutenant's expression seems to take on an 'ahhh' moment of realization. "So that's where he got the skinjob. That one is a model five. There are supposedly twelve different models. We've identified only identified four of them and have a few suspected - though proving them guilty is hard as they look nearly identical down to a cellular level from what I understand." She takes a breath, finally looking away from the man and venturing a gaze around the street. "He was torturing the Cylon. Tazing it. Thing was chained up in a cage. We've got it in our brig right now under interrogation and constant guard."

Ieuan's brows rise. "It's still alive?" And then again, "Twelve? And you've only identified four?" The surprises just keep on coming, it seems. "There's no way to tell them apart? How is that possible, they're machines!" He lifts a hand to touch his forehead, but only briefly, arm returned quickly to that of his chair. "Lieutenant," he begins, not seeming overly concerned for the conditions in which the skinjob 5 was held, "What is the exact status of the Fleet at the moment, honestly? Because it's beginning to sound to me as if you're not much better off than we are here."

"Whether or not they are 'living' is a debate for the philosophs, but its still operating - yes. They are machines in the sense that we believe they are manufactured but for all intents and purposes, these things eat, bleed, breathe, and function as any other human would. As far as I am aware, we have no surefire way to tell them apart other than visual identification." The last questions from Ieuan get a slight drop in her expression and she looks to the porch under her boots. "We are better off, sir. Hot showers, meals, no radiation, shelter from the elements. But the fleet.." How to word this. Natalie sighs and finally looks back up to him. Be honest, right? "Just over half the fleet was destroyed over Virgon, sir. Another quarter at Picon - a battle that our ship nearly did not survive. Right now about fifteen percent of the fleet is unaccounted for. We are five ships. A flak frigate, a missile frigate, a battlestar, an experimental escort carrier, and the civilian freighter."

"Yes, I confess I'm not as interested in the philosophical ramifications as maybe I could be," Ieuan replies, just faintly dry, not enough to quite make clear whether he means that or not, "That is unfortunate," he goes on, "That there's no way to tell. At least that's been found yet." He watches Vandenberg as she prepares that response, and seems to take it in stride until she gets down to brass tacks. He laughs, a bark of incredulity. "Five ships? Five?" Another laughs, a shake of his head, "The entire military of twelve colonies is reduced to five ships?" This time he does rake a hand over his hair, the motion completed where the last was aborted, "Well," he says, and then again, "Well, lieutenant. I see." He glances around, makes eye contact with an attendant near the door, and then looks back, finally, smiling tightly, "I think with the supplies you've provided we should be sufficiently stocked that we can hold out here until your civilian freighter is prepared. As dire as your own situation sounds, radiation levels being what they are, we will not wish to stay here."

"I would imagine that as soon as a way can be found, we will be screening the entire fleet and everyone that comes aboard. For now we have to make-do with background checks and questioning. All of your people will have to undergo it. I had to do the same." Natalie watches the man bark laughter at the size of the fleet but she doesn't seem to find the humor. Then again, she has to work there. "I'm glad to hear you'll be joining us, sir. We need level-headed civilians with natural leadership abilities. If any of your people so choose, they may also enlist or join our officer corps. There has not been, nor am I aware of, any plans for impressments into the ranks. But there is something I wanted to ask you about." She meets his eyes once more, her own taking on a colder look. "Sir, I understand your desire to not risk yourself or your own people in a feud with Taim's people. But I need to know, person to person, that you are not going to seek out retribution for what Taim did. Either against him personally or against his people. Can you guarantee that of your people, sir?"

Ieuan listens and nods, not seeming to have much to say about screening procedures or enlistment opportunities at the moment, nor about his own level head and natural leadership abilities. His expression is sober, as it has been throughout, even during that brief spate of laughter, and there is a moment of grim silence after Vandenberg's question. "I can assure you, Lieutenant," he says after that brief pause, "That no retribution will be sought against Taim's people by me or any of mine. The majority are good sorts, many are people I know and have worked with. We have no quarrel with them." Another pause, and then he nods again, "And I give you my word that I will not make any attack on Ezra Taim for his murder of my uncle. I hope, however, that he will be held accountable by your courts."

"I appreciate that, sir. Thank you. Before Taim shot your uncle I told him that if he or any of his men opened fire for any reason then he would be held personally responsible. I intend to see that he is held up to that." Vandenberg's eyes hold Ieuan's for a quiet few seconds before she looks away once more. "Lieutenant O'Hare will probably file charges of murder against him but I can't make promises there. But he will be made to pay for what he's done. Every life is precious, sir. Especially now more than ever." Her eyes settle on the Raptor that's parked on the street. "Have you identified any humanoid Cylons other than the one you knew as Constance Merta?" Van reaches into her vest and produces a piece of paper. She unfolds it and shows it to the man. It has the pictures of the four known Cylons on it. "And do you recognize any of these people except for the model five?"

"I hope that Lieutenant O'Hare does so," Ieuan replies gravely, "It would only be just." As for humanoid cylons, he begins to nod, "A tall man, dark skin, maybe — yes, him," the Taurian breaks off, tapping the photo of a 12 that Vandenberg lays out, "Later on, they came more openly, in larger numbers, him and the woman, with the centurions. It was just those two."

Vandenberg nods and replaces the paper inside her vest. "Aye. We know that one as 'Shaker'. Its a model twelve. Supposedly they are some of the most aggressively anti-human models along with the fives. However the Cerberus had a Viper pilot named Shaker that turned on the Cylons on Warday and fought for humanity. We've also had experience with a set of model elevens that have been helpful, if you can believe that. One of the accused, which no evidence currently supports, died on Sag and was a decorated member of the crew. To be honest, sir, the Cylon are obviously a threat. But it would appear that not all of them are alike in their wish to see humanity wiped away. But if you see any of those four? Let the Marines know. We'll take care of the problem." Vandenberg reaches behind her to her belt and takes a radio off, extending it to the man. "Since we will be keeping you all separate, take this. Its a citizens band radio with a boosted range and signal. We'll be able to hear you easily and we monitor the frequencies. If there is anything that you need from us or if there is an emergency, don't hesitate to call. We will provide medical evacuation to anyone who needs it for whatever reason. We won't voluntarily get into firefights, though. Not with other people. You run into a group that intends to kill you guys, you fall back and call us. We will come in similarly to how your people met us the first time."

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