PHD #051: Give Me Liberty Or...
Give Me Liberty Or…
Summary: Tillman pays a visit to Sawyer and rides a fine line between treason and rights.
Date: 18 Apr 2041 AE
Related Logs: Anything about conscription
Sawyer Tillman 
News Room
This room isn't huge by any means, but it does have all the updated equipment and a small news staff that runs the area.
Post-Holocaust Day: #51

The news room is never really busy any more, per se. Namely people come in here out of habit or obligation, though there's not much work left to be done in a room whose main purpose was to report back to the Colonies. Sawyer however, seems the anomaly as she's typing away furiously on her laptop, the soft glow from the screen giving her face an odd pallor as she's bent forward towards the keys.

Tillman appears in the doorway and raps his knuckles across the frame. "Miss Averies. I was wondering if you had a minute to talk privately?" The man looks around the room to see if they're alone. He takes a few steps in.

Sawyer before Tillman can get near her computer, Sawyer's hitting doing some quick key strokes (likely a save and exit) and flipping down her screen. She tries to inflict him with a completely innocent expression, but she seems a little undeniably flustered around the edges. "Sure. Yup. What can I do for you?" She glances around and notices the light isn't on in the dark room, which means it's vacant. "We can talk in there."

The Major watches her shut down the screen but no, he doesn't get a chance to see what the fuss was about. "Uh huh." Tillman looks like he might almost smirk but the man looks a little too serious for that. "Wanted to talk to you about, ah.." Another look around and he closes the door before moving over. "Look, I said I would come to you if I ever had anything that concerns the civilians or anything like that, right? Especially something that I take personal concern for. You heard any rumors about conscription?" he asks, stepping over towards her desk.

Sawyer slips out of her desk towards the door separating the dark room from the news room, opening it and holding aside the black fabric that's been hung as an extra precaution against unwanted light getting inside the room. Waiting for the XO, she slips in behind him. "You mean the forced indenture of the last remaining citizens of the Twelve Colonies. I might have, yes." Sawyer responds rather dryly to the man.

He watches her lift the curtain and takes the hint. He heads inside and lets his eyes drift over the darkroom's contents before looking back at here. There's no protest on his face. "Yeah. Exactly." He pauses for a moment. "What have you heard?" He crosses his arms over his chest, looking to meet her eyes.

The room has a workstation off to one side, with shallow liquid baths for developing old fashioned film. There are lines strung around the room with various photos hanging, long since dried and just waiting for collection. Each person using the room has claimed a line and their names are attached with a piece of paper and a clothespin. Sawyer's line looks like its full of candid photos, mainly of random crew. "That the Commander is first asking his department heads about the merit of such a draft. I intend to do the same, only with a bit less diplomacy."

"Sounds like you've got good sources. He issued a memorandum this morning about it. Abbot wants a feasibility study conducted and he will probably want to know what exactly is needed from each department." Tillman probably looks about as happy as Sawyer about the whole idea. "I can imagine you've got a personal interest in this considering your age and education. I've got no more love for this idea than you do, Sawyer. I can godsdamn promise that. Anyhow, what are you planning to ask the Department Heads? And are you planning to protest personally to myself and Abbot?"

"Well, consider this my personal protest to you, because I don't look good in khaki. I'm well aware I'd be amongst the first drafted and I'll be damned if I know where they'd stick me but it sure as hell wouldn't be pleasant. And I plan on trying to convince each and every department head to strike against the idea as well. Creating a civilian work force is one idea, taking away that option and what little inkling of freedom they have left? Is another. We also need to consider running, not further sticking around and fighting and depleting what left there is of humanity into oblivion." Sawyer's not fuming, she's calmly explaining her point with her jaw clenched.

"If this goes through, I'll make sure you're someplace livable. Try and get you options. But I'm going to Abbot about this -personally-. When you file your protest to talk to Command, likely I will have to be there. Outwardly I have to support the man and I may not be your friend at that meeting. But I'll give you every bit of ammunition I can beforehand. The last thing I want is people forced into labor. Conscripted soldiers are more dangerous, accident prone, and are nearly eighty percent less effective. They might even hinder our operations. I'll take him the idea of a voluntary workforce, but we've already had that floated. As for the rest." He sighs and looks absently to the pictures. The crew. "Look, if you try to convince these department heads to flaunt it, Abbot might slap you with Inciting Mutiny. I might even have to sign-off on it. Its riding a damned fine line and I don't want to see you thrown into a brig for the rest of your life." No sense mentioning the execution. "As for fighting? That's a call myself and the Admiral have made. We're proceeding as we see fit."

"Interviewing a handful of random men and woman who just /happen/ to be department heads, when I've been given the clearance to do so, is hardly inciting mutiny. During that conversation if I /happen/ to impart my opinion to them and they take it to heart enough let that influence their report back to the Commander, I'm hardly to blame. And if I fail and end up in the brig, it's a far cry better then being forced into a system which I would no longer care to support." Sawyer's fists ball at her hips.

"No, interviewing them is not. But attempting to convince an officer or enlisted to disobey orders -is-. This isn't civilian law, Sawyer. Mutiny is another form of treason. They shoot people for that!" He's not quite pleading, but the man is trying to impart how dangerous the idea is with quite a bit of emotion. He stares at her for a moment before taking a breath. "Look. I'm not your enemy. I know that shit like this may not give a lot of faith to what the military is and I'm not going to sit here and tell you some bullshit about how its not so bad. If you'd wanted to join the military, you would have. But there are reasons why this is done on a voluntary basis." The Major's arms uncross and he looks to her directly. "This shit could get me in serious damned trouble, Sawyer. I'm not doing it for giggles. ..How much do you know about the reasons for the existence of the Navy?"

Sawyer waves off all of his statement with an impatient flap of her hands in front of her face like she's just been attacked by a swarm of gnats. "I'm not asking telling or convincing them to disobey orders. The commander sent a memo and I quote to 'begin a feasibility study regarding the integration of civilians and yadda yadda by draft'. I'm merely going to suggest such a thing isn't feasible. They will still do their 'study' they will still turn in their heavily opinionated study to the Commander. No orders disobeyed. No foul. No treason."

Tillman shakes his head. "It doesn't matter. Its the Admiral's and JAG's interpretation of the law. I'm sure as shit not going to tell him you're doing any such thing. The way I see it, you're voicing your opinion as a member of the crew - a civilian member of the crew. All I'm telling you is to be damned careful how you word things. Especially with Department Heads who have had their troops hit the hardest like the Air Wing."

Sawyer folds her arms over her chest, if only to give them something to do. She's a fidgeter when she gets anxious or riled, and it's taking all her power right now not to futz with the photographs or the crooked pins on his shoulder. "What are they going to do, want to stick me in the cockpit? The people we're losing are highly specialized. It would take months if not years to train even suitable cannon fodder replacements."

The Major shrugs gently. "I have no idea. You've got a college degree. You're smart enough that they wouldn't stick you someplace like Marine infantry. You'd probably end up as an officer. Maybe Tactical. They might even put you in a cockpit. Training would be abbreviated but that's just what the situation is. There's no proper way to do this. But I don't want to see it get that far for more than just that reason. But as it stands, look around. See where you might want to go - just in case the worst case scenario plays out."

Sawyer manages a ghost of a smile, and it's not a rather comforting thing at this point. "Why Major, that would be like admitting defeat before I even began."

Tillman gives a light, humorless chuckle. "I'd call it planning ahead. If it comes down to it, I'll pull strings for you. But only if you know where you want to go. As for beginning, you want to know how to attack Command Staff on this? You go for the ribcage. You go for the entire reason why the Navy was founded and Colonial law. We're operating under wartime regulations and Martial Law, but that does not encompass what the Admiral is proposing. Its an old argument that goes back hundreds of years to the first water-borne navies on each of the colonies."

Sawyer is curious enough to cock a brow at his suggestion of tactics, offering, "To protect the people's will and freedom?" It's posed as a question as she's fully expected to be corrected. Afterall, Sawyer never claimed to be military savvy.

"Sort of. The Navy exists in its current state to protect and defend the Articles of Colonization. That -does- encompass protecting the rights of its citizens from government oppression in some interpretations. A volunteer force does NOT react well, in democracies, to having to impose itself on the public. But the reason the first navies were formed was to protect and enforce law on the seas." Tillman shuffles his stance to lean against the wall. "There was a huge problem with pirates and opposing nations capturing merchant fleet vessels and taking their civilian crews. They would impress them into the fleet and force them to fight. It was, and still is, illegal as all hell. A -lot- of wars were fought over it. Even up until Warday, one of the big arguments for the size of the fleet was to protect the shipping lanes from piracy and illegal activity. Pirates have been known to impress crews much the same as they always have in the past."

"So you're saying, if we resort to this, the terrorists have won." Sawyer says blandly, but can clearly see the merit behind the argument. No doubt, some version of that will be adapted and shoved down the Commander's throat next time she has words with him.

"More or less, yeah. We're resorting to something that isn't just illegal, its immoral. The problem is going to be convincing the old man that circumstances are not that dire. Now, the best way to tie it all together might get you a pissed-off Admiral, but it might be worth it." Tillman isn't holding back. "Use the Slippery Slope argument. You tell him that if we are throwing out the Articles of Colonization, then it removes the authority recognized by the civilians. That removes the government and by extension, the military. That if he wants to have a militocracy and be president, then he should be prepared to deal with all of the problems that impressing the ENTIRE population will entail. Because godsdamnit, I swore an oath to protect and defend the Articles of Colonization and the citizens of the Twelve. The military fights under authoritarian rule to protect the democracy. It doesn't fight for itself."

"Then we're of like minds, Major. And I /used/ to think I had a rather good repoire with the Commander, but the fact that this was leaked to me from another source would indicate otherwise. Of course, there's probably a damn good reason he didn't tell me directly. Namely because I intend to fight this tooth and nail, so." Sawyer exhales a huff of air, lofting up a wisp of hair.

"If it were up to me, we'd have a civilian government already in place. Even if its small and represents a miniscule part of the population left. The military are hawks. We need balance. But I've been too damned busy to get anything going and nobody seems willing to step-up. Except.." He inclines his head towards her. "You fight hard for these people and they may not even know it. I'm damned glad you do, Sawyer. Thank you." The Major even sounds genuine. "Now, you bring that to Command. Make that argument and stick to your guns. Like I said, I won't be your friend in that room but what I'm telling you will help you make the best argument. Just..figure out some way to show that the situation isn't so bad or get the civilians organized to volunteer. Bring alternatives if possible. And if you can find a civilian lawyer? You've got access to the library. I've got faith that you know how to hunt down information." The man finally smirks, but its a fleeting gesture. "Just..take my advice. Look around. If we fail at convincing him otherwise? A backup plan for where to go might be a good idea."

"I'd be an even worse diplomat than an officer. Though I have to admit, President Averies has a ring to it, doesn't it." Joking, surely, she's far too young and unexperienced for such a role. Sawyer gives a little nod, as if confirming that they are both on the same page about how to approach the Commander, when she eventually has all her ducks in a row to do so.

"And I'm a better Dad than an officer. It doesn't mean we aren't going to have to play the hand we're dealt, Sawyer. You've got guts, intellect, and determination. Personally, I think you'd do well in either role." Tillman leans off the wall. "Look, if you need to get in touch with me, send a random person to hunt me down. We can't have Abbot or the rest of the crew thinking I'm helping you or even working against what may be orders." He doesn't finish that implication for what it means to himself. "Otherwise, no matter what, we never had this discussion. Crew integrity is too important. Especially at the Command level. ..Any questions or concerns?"

"Admiral Abbot isn't an unreasonable man. Every time I've spoken to him, he seems to weigh the options carefully. Right now, I'm just going to have to assume he's just a little misguided about his intentions here. He'll listen. He has to." Because if he doesn't, things are going to get worse around here, of that Sawyer seems convinced.

"Yeah. I'm first up to bat, though. He's going to listen to his XO's protest and give some good reasoning or its going to seriously frak up the command relationship. I'm gettin' tired of coverin for his ass, though, when shit gets tough." As soon as it leaves his mouth, Tillman regrets it. He moves along quickly. "Anyhow, our strike should be back soon. I gotta get back to CIC. You know how to reach me." The XO nods to her and moves off for the curtain.

"Isn't that the definition of your job?" Sawyer calls after him with a little 'heh' of laughter and a shake of her head as he departs.

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