PHD #442: Higher Calling
Higher Calling
Summary: Sawyer speaks to Bannik about her past in effort to fulfill her promise to Vandenberg.
Date: 14 May 2042 AE
Related Logs: Favors (Vandenberg asks Sawyer to speak to Bannik) and Gemenon foo.
Bannik Sawyer 
Enlisted Berths - Battlestar Cerberus
Rows and rows of bunks run along the outside and center of this room which is quite a bit larger than the Officers' Berths. With multiple hatch entrances to different sections of this area, the complex has spaces for armored doors similar to the ones on the Hangar Deck that can lower in case of fire or depressurization. Tables are set up along the spaces between the bunks and lockers divide each over-under sleeping area. Each bunk is a standard military size and has a deep blue curtain to seal in some privacy for the occupant.
Post-Holocaust Day: #442

Bannik is seated at one of the common-area tables, a pad in front of him and a pen in his hand. Uh-oh. Bannik is writing. This usually means bad things for the Fleet, or at least Command. He's in his greens, an intense look of concentration on his face.

What's just as bad as Bannik writing is the civilian reporter waltzing into people's berthings. Maybe Constin was right: Sawyer acts as if she's entitled sometimes. This is one of those times. She has no problem acting as if this is where she belongs, heels clicking with her brisk walk as she searches bunk labels but low and behold, Bannik is there out in the open. "Ah good, just the man I was looking for." Quickly, she pulls out a chair and plops down into it, "Got a second?"

Bannik glances up at the arrival of the reporter woman. "Hey! Sawyer! I haven't seen you since we were in the brig together. How are you doing? Everything okay?" His smile is big and genuine. His pad all sorts of cross-outs and inserts in it. It seems to be some sort of story; maybe his latest manifesto. "What's on your mind? You want to interview me or something? A story?"

"I've been holed up with a guard at my door or in the library. Sorry I've been scarce, didn't mean for you to think I've forgotten about you." An easy sort of smile graces her lips, "I'm actually not here in any sort of official capacity. Our time on Gemenon will see print soon enough. I just thought maybe we should talk, because we hadn't really had a chance to without Big Brother looking over our shoulder. How've you been? Did they make any ruling as to that silly trumped up charge?"

"I've got a Marine following me, too," admits Bannik. "Not in the bunks, at least. He stays outside when I'm in here. I guess they figure if I get beat up in my own rack, that's my problem." He cracks a small grin. "But I've been okay. Chief dropped the charge; I've just been trying to do my job and tell people about what we saw down there. Why we need to do this, even if it seems crazy."

"Well, mine doesn't sit by my bedside and read me a bedtime story either, but I'd like to think if they heard anything, unusual, they'd come rushing in." A finger makes the run around the rim of her ear, tucking a lock of blonde behind it. "Actually, that's just what I wanted to talk to you about. But in order to do so, I sort of need to stick my nose in your business. Will you forgive the intrusion?"

Bannik runs his hand through his hair and screws up his brow. "Well, of course, Sawyer. I mean, after all we've been through. Besides, I'm a pretty simple guy. I don't have any secrets." He quirks at grin at her, clearly not quite sure where this is going. "What's on your mind? You trying to figure out what all of this means?"

"I'm just in unfamiliar territory here, that's all. But we'll get to that. And maybe some brainstorming." Sawyer leans forward towards Bannik, resting her elbows on her legs. "Have you ever gotten anyone killed, Tyr?" It's a harsh segue, but maybe that's the point.

Bannik considers this for a long moment, as if this is really a question that he needs to think about. "Well, no. No, Sawyer. I haven't. Why?" His brow screws up at this turn; he still isn't sure where this is going.

"I want to tell you a story, if you don't mind. It's one…well, I'm not sure anyone aboard the Cerberus or anyone still in existence really knows the full of it. It's the reason why I was assigned to QUODEL. The reason I was put on the Cerberus to cover military exercises on the ass end of no where," Sawyer starts, making sure that he understands the gravity of what she's about to tell him.

"Yeah?" Bannik leans in, giving her a small, supportive smile as she readies to prepare her story. "Sure. Go ahead."

Sawyer gives a long exhale, a whoosh of air leaving her lungs as she tries to gather up the needed courage. "Back when I worked for Acropolis Monthly, I was in the criminal division. I covered all sorts of unsavory stories, but my coup de grace was when I did an exposé on the drug trade in the prison systems. A long story short, I got one prisoner to talk. It turns out the guards were in on it, and looked the other way while all sorts of various narcotics were being filtered in through the mail system. Before I sent my story to press, I got threatening letters from an anonymous source but the message was clear: send it to print, and someone very close to me would die."

"Uh-huh." Bannik nods slowly, taking in the story. "So what did you do?" He figures that's the question needed to move the question along.

"I published it anyways, before I had the full story. Before I knew just how deep the corruption ran. See, it wasn't just the guards, but the warden who was in on it. Turned out it was his own little retirement plan. The story went to press, and that very afternoon, my photographer was gunned down and killed, right there in the magazine's parking garage. Amien was also my fiancé." Sawyer tries not to choke on the words, but it's difficult, even after nearly 18 months.

Bannik reaches out and takes Sawyer's hand, squeezing it tightly. "Well, it wasn't your fault, Sawyer. It's the people who did it's fault. I mean, you were doing your job. People who claim that others 'made them do it' are just unwilling to take responsibility for themselves." He tries his best reassuring smile. "You can't blame yourself for it."

Sawyer gives a sad little smile, lifting a hand to fold it over Tyr's. "The only thing I blame myself for is not having the whole of the story before I sent it to ink. Had I known about the warden, well, the whole mess may have been preventable. It was a regret I carry with me to this day. Do you…do you know where I'm going with this, Tyr?"

"But no one else is telling any of the story, Sawyer. We got back. What did they do with us? They shoved us in a cell, Sawyer. The only official debrief I got was from the Master-at-Arms, and he accused me of being a frakking deserter." Bannik's voice comes agitated, in an earnest sort of way. "Hades, Sawyer, you have the biggest non-military megaphone on the Fleet, but you haven't said a thing publicly. Look at me, Sawyer. You were there with me. Do you believe Cairn? Do you believe the Elevens? Do you think this is some big trap? I know we can't know for certain; but tell me, what do you think?"

Sawyer doesn't release her hands from Bannik's, in fact her fingers curl tighter. "Listen, Tyr. I'm not sure if you're familiar with a man named Piers Rene-Marie, but right now the Military Police are working on pressing him with some very serious charges. Until they can, he's the mouthpiece the civilians are listening to, and if we give him the fodder that the military is incapable, he's going to twist it around and abuse it. I understand what you're doing, I do. I'd do it myself, but the thing is, he's going to use this to whip the civilians into a froth right now, and do you know what I'm afraid of? He's going to be able to convince their ship's Captain to jump away from the fleet. Does that make any sort of sense, or am I just…" Her hand slips away from his, and she presses two fingers to her forehead. "Or am I just talking out of my ass."

Bannik takes a deep breath. "I get it, Sawyer, but — I know you don't believe in the gods the way I do. I never asked to be — for this." He gestures at his pad, turning it towards her so she can see his draft. "But the words come to me, and I can't resist them. People are scared, Saywer, of what this means for them. They need someone to tell them, to convince them, that this is all part of the gods' plan, that this is meant to be. Does — does that make any sense? I'm just trying to help."

Sawyer's eyes drift down the page, reading rather quickly. She can only give a little twitch of a smile before she's pushing the pages back towards him. "You have a real knack for this. Maybe you missed your calling? You should have been a reporter. Or a priest." She gives a little laugh as she stands. "And I think I missed mine."

"It's never what I wanted to be. I wanted to just fix planes and do my job. But I got called, Sawyer. And you did, too." Bannik's smile is soft, small, wan. His eyes are genuine. Whatever else people are saying about Tyr, he does believe in what he's doing. "I don't want to get anyone killed. But I'm afraid that — if I don't do this, if we don't go to the Falls — I will get everyone killed. And I can't let that happen. Do you understand that?"

"I'm just suggesting that we need to proceed with a little more caution. They /have/ heard us, Tyr. Of that I'm certain. Of that I have /proof/. But should we keep shoving this down people's throats, well. Things are apt to happen faster than prudent preparation allows. Before we find out just what the warden is up to. I just don't want to see someone else I'm in love with die because we don't have enough information yet." Sawyer tilts her head, slightly. "Will you give me a week? A week for you and I to hash all this out, see if we can't come up with something more concrete than just our gut feeling or what hope would lead us to believe. A week, and then I'll run anything you write in bold face type on my own presses."

Bannik rises to his feet and gives Sawyer a small smile. "It'll take a few days for me to finish this draft and get it distributed. I'll tell you what; I'll give you twenty-four hours head start before I have my people start tacking it up. That way you can do whatever sort of spin you need to fight this Rene-Marie guy. You know, you can have a counter-release ready to go." He touches her shoulder. "I'm sorry I can't do more, Sawyer. But if we're just going to sit here and spin our wheels —" He shakes his head. "I can't let that happen. But thanks for coming by, huh? It was good to see you. I need to get to the Deck, though."

Sawyer leans forward to give Bannik a kiss to the cheek that's more air than lip, lest she be improper. "I'm not asking you to. I'm just asking for you to give those wheels a chance to catch up, that's all." A pause, "You have people now?" She shakes her head as she heads to the hatch, if only to give Bannik the time he needs to prepare himself for shift. "You truly missed your calling."

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