PHD #390: Guns on the Table
Guns on the Table
Summary: Piers and Kincaid make some not-so-veiled threats to each other.
Date: 24 March 2042 AE
Related Logs: Gravity.
Kincaid Piers 
Living Quarters — MV Elpis
The freighter has living quarters sufficient to accommodate around 800-1000 people, divided up into rooms of varying sizes. Each room holds multiple sets of bunkbeds, most commonly housing between 10 and 20 people, none housing fewer than four and some as many as 60. For each bed, there is a locker of some sort. These rooms take up several floors, and are arranged around a central 'courtyard'. Each floor has at least one common room, outfitted with scavenged couches and televisions, separate heads for men and women, and laundry facilities. The rooms are pretty barren — plain military-issue bedding on the bunks, and nothing currently adorning metal walls or floors. The lighting is unforgivingly fluorescent, and there is a constant soft hum of generators and ventilation systems in addition to the other noises common to areas housing hundreds of people in relatively close quarters.
Post-Holocaust Day: #390

For a wanted man, Piers Rene-Marie isn't very difficult to find — especially when he wants nothing more than to be found. Dressed in a loose silk shirt and a pair of jeans so tight they might cut off circulation to his legs, the man's unmistakable in his periwinkle scarf and his well-styled hair. He's even wearing cologne, the smell of 'Ocean Breeze' warm and heavy in the recycled air of his room aboard Elpis. Sitting on his bunk, his head bowed, he taps his feet against the ground as eyes glance toward the hatch every thirty seconds. Waiting, from the looks of it.

And who better to find him then The Authorities. The Man. The Cops. The Power. And the Man is in the form of Daniel Kincaid today, in his Marine khakis, but not wearing his brassard and not wearing his sidearm holster. Call it the semi-formal look. He comes through the hatch, giving Piers a bright smile. "Mr. Rene-Marie. You have a few minutes for me? Lance Corporal Daniel Kincaid from the Cerberus." Of course, he knows that Piers knows who he is. But he has to pretend that he doesn't know that.

"Lance Corporal Daniel Kincaid." Rene-Marie has the grace to look amused, his catlike eyes widening as he pushes himself to his feet. With mincing steps, he flits over to where the stocky man now stands, one hand extended to shake. "Do you mind if I call you Danny? You must forgive me. I'm not one of you — gendarmerie." The word is emphasized by his light Virgan accent, which waxes and wanes with his mood. "I see you received my invitation. I must say, I confess myself disappointed it took you this long to call me. And here I thought you were eager to solve the mystery of the poor, poor Doctor."

Kincaid takes the slimy Virgon hand and shakes it firmly. "Danny's just fine. I apologize it took so long for me to come by. You know, with Condition Two across the Fleet and blowing up Cylon foundries and basestars — well, it's kept us all pretty busy." He shrugs, going to lean himself against Rene-Marie's bunk. "And I figured I'd shake down all the leads I could before I bothered you with it, Mr. Rene-Marie. After all, you're a busy and important man."

Slime? No. That's moisturizer. A man's got to keep up appearances, after all. "Tut tut, Danny," says Piers with that wide and slinky smile. "Much more of that and it'll go to my head. May I have someone get you a drink? Some wine, perhaps. Or some — what is it called? Sirop de Picon, is how I know it." Stepping back to his desk, he sits in his cushioned office chair and twirls around counterclockwise. The fancy leather of his shoes gleams brightly beneath the room's dim light.

A hand goes up, flat palm. He demurs. "I'm technically on duty, Mr. Rene-Marie. But I'll take some water, if you have it." He takes a pad and his trademark ballpoint pen out of his breast pocket, flipping the pad open. "I have to say, I've hit some real dead ends. Mattias Lindley says he doesn't know the other guys that were sitting at his table — the ones that attacked Dekker with him. That redhead?" He glances up from his pad, an arched eyebrow suggesting that they both know THAT REDHEAD. "Well, I worked her over pretty hard but she wouldn't give up a damn thing."

"Water, Claude!" Clap-clap-clap go Piers' moisturized hands, and a half-second later a hulking redheaded fellow steps into the still-open hatch with a bottle of 'Water, Natural Spring.' "It has gas," the Virgan warns, a secret smile on his thin lips. "Most people who aren't used to it find themselves somewhat surprised when they taste it," he continues. "And I find most people tend to get somewhat disagreeable when confronted by surprises. Isn't that right, Danny?" His fingers steepled beneath his chin, Rene-Marie leans back in the chair, accepting tacitly the glass of white wine Claude brings over for him. "Mm. It is no matter. Tell me. What did the pretty one say? Surely you do not suspect she had anything to do with this most tragic affair?"

Kincaid lifts his shoulders into a long and languid shrug. "One can never know, Mr. Rene-Marie. You just need to chase every lead and see what turns out when you do. She seemed like the natural choice. Didn't turn out to be anything. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time." He takes the proffered glass of water, suppressing a sour face at the bubbles. It definitely is not 'him.' "So after all that dried up, I figured I'd come talk to you. No much happens on this ship without you knowing."

"I am like you, Danny." Piers takes a delicate sip from his glass, wrinkling his nose as he gauges the temperature of his wine and finds it wanting. Evidently better refrigeration isn't something he can rustle up, even with all the connections he has. "I take an interest in the goings-on because I am — concerned — for what remains of my beloved people. And also because I wish to stave off that dreadful creature we call ennui. Mm? Especially now that I do not have cable television." Piers takes another sip. "Let us speak hypothetically, then. If I could put my ear to the ground and divine for you who did this horrible thing, what is it that you would do to them?"

"Hypothetically? I'd have to put them under arrest, of course. It was a pretty bad beating, you know. Dekker had to spend a while in sickbay." Kincaid is looking at his notes as he says this, not quite meeting Rene-Marie's eye. "Of course, what would happen to them? Well, it's not like we jail people anymore. I'm sure there'd be a lot of work details. That sort of thing."

"And how would you know they were guilty? Surely you are not going to condemn these men based on the word of one such as me." Rene-Marie smiles behind the lip of his glass. "No, that will not do at all. This man Sholty? This man is your problem, but the others deserve better than what you intend to give. So what I propose is this: let us try these men. Let us convene a tribunal, and let us call these men before it, and let us mete out what punishment we deem proper in line with the laws of the Colonies. If I can in fact find these men." The former accountant shrugs. "I can make no guarantees."

"Of course. Of course." Kincaid waves his hand with the pen in it. "I would never convict these men just on your word. I just need some names to — get my investigation kick-started. After all, if I could get Dekker some pictures in an array, he might be able to make a positive i.d. to firm it up." He flashes a smile. "Look. Piers." A first name. "I know you're a man who gets things done. And I don't begrudge that. I've got enough things to chase without worrying about the ticky-tacky stuff. So. How about I make you a counter-offer?" He takes a step closer now, just this much nearer to the Virgon's personal space.

"Offer away," says Piers. He even smiles as he sniffs at the wine swirling round and round in his glass.

"How about:" Kincaid tears a sheet off his pad and hands it over to Piers. "If two names end up on this sheet of paper and this sheet of paper ends up on my desk tomorrow morning, I won't lose any sleep wondering how a woman who's three months pregnant when she gets picked up on Aerilon suddenly gets unpregnant without any record of suffering a miscarriage." He clicks his pen closed and tucks it back into his breast pocket; he lets the proposal hang in the air. "I defended Michael Abbott, Piers. I'm not going to toss people out an airlock on my say-so. But I am a cop, and I do get my man."

The tall Virgan leans backwards in his comfortable chair as Kincaid makes his offer, folding his arms across his chest. "Your man," he repeats, his voice soft and suddenly very silky. "I wonder, Danny, who your man really is." The piece of lined paper is ignored for now. "You would be wise to consider this thing I've suggested," he adds at length. "Think of it. Two birds, one stone. The one who writes those pesky manifestos — co-opted! The ones who assaulted our dearest Doctor Dekker — punished! But if you choose not to do this thing — " Piers sighs a long-suffering sigh, snapping his fingers in the air. Big and burly Claude ducks outside — and when he returns, in his hands is a manila envelope, its flap un-sealed. "A friend gave these to me the other day," he explains. "I told him I wanted nothing to do with them, but he was very — how does it go? Insisting."

"Perhaps." Piers' smile doesn't wilt; if anything, it grows ever wider as Kincaid outlines his offer. "You seem like a reasonable man, Danny. I like working with reasonable men, because I too am a reasonable man. So let's reason together. I'll admit I understand why you're afraid of this trial. You think I wrote the manifesto, that I masterminded this entire business with the doctor, that I'm making a run for whatever sorry scraps of power you think I want. All of this is dreadfully hurtful, of course. I'm so dreadfully hurt. But."

Piers holds up a finger, asking Kincaid to let him finish. "What I want is not so different from what you want. I want these men responsible to be punished, just as you. But I can tell you now: passions are rather — inflamed — aboard this ship, especially after the Cylons just put us through. So give them this trial, Danny, and I will say nothing. It would be your idea, not mine — or if you don't want your name on it, perhaps beautiful Sawyer Averies might wish to take credit. You see justice served. The people simmer down. And we can put all this nonsense about babies and pictures behind us, like reasonable men would."

A pause. Kincaid seems to actually be turning this over in his mind. He is, after all, a reasonable man. Finally: "I don't get to make these decisions and this is above my paygrade. And my bosses won't horse-trade on this. I need an arrest before I can even suggest the idea."

"I have a constituency too," Piers observes, tilting back his head so he can polish off the rest of that wine. It's one of the last bottles in the universe, after all, and he's intent on savoring every drop. "I wish I could give you better news, Danny, I really do. But — well, I'm sure you've heard the whispers. That overwrought nonsense about tyranny and illegitimacy and all that. And believe me when I say that more arrests without at least the promise of civilian oversight and I fear I will no longer be able to keep in check the rising tide. Least of all the friend who took those photographs, whom Claude has been doing his best to — mmm. What is it that you do, Claude?"

"Keep 'im in line," drawls the man, his thick Canceran accent at odds with his flaming red hair.

"Mmm," murmurs Piers. "Keep him in line."

"All right." Kincaid pats Piers on the shoulder, a 'brotherly' sort of gesture. "We'll see what we both can do, hmm? And we both know the loaded guns we have on the table pointed at each other. I'll be in touch." And so the Marine turns to go, leaving the issue — such as it is — unresolved.

"Let Claude give you the rest of this wine," says Piers, standing — to draw Kincaid into a perfumed hug. His periwinkle scarf tickles the man's stubble as he plants a kiss on one cheek; then the other. "It's a good vintage, and it'd only go to waste if you left without trying a glass. I insist." And stepping back, Piers leans against the nearby bunk, chuckling ever so slightly. "I'm glad you stopped by."

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