PHD #109: EVENT - Hitchhiker
Summary: A stranger finds her way to the vicinity of Virgon House. But is she friend or foe?
Date: 15 Jun 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Bannik Sitka Cilusia Cora Tisiphone Sawyer Trask Croke Evandreus 
Colonial Row - Leonis
Nestled in this collection of cul-de-sacs to the east of Herald's Green are several specimens of the iconic Kytheran brownstone, whose sturdiness in the face of the late unpleasantness speaks well of their quality. It was for precisely that reason that they were chosen by representatives of other Colonial governments to serve as embassies of sorts, complete with high walls, tripwires, and untold terabytes of classified information secured by grim MPs and the best firewalls money could buy. These fortified homes are now the only buildings left standing in Colonial Row, having withstood the fire that swept through the rest of the neighborhood in the hours and days after the initial Cylon strike — but closer inspection reveals that they, too, have been gutted, their wood-paneled rooms now empty and bare.
Post-Holocaust Day: #109

It started off as a typical day around Virgon House. Such as typical days go when stranded on an enemy-occupied planet. It's been raining on and off throughout the afternoon. No showers now, as evening comes up, but the oppressive sticky, post-rain humidity has settled over the city. Tisiphone and Sawyer left the house earlier in the day to nose around the restaurant district. They said they'd be back by sundown. Sundown's coming on, and they aren't back yet. Not that they're all that late, but something interrupted that typical day about a half hour ago that might raise concerns more than their tardiness otherwise would…

A watchman armed with a pair of binoculars noted a something skulking around the streets not far from Virgon House. Something human, or at least something that looked human, though they were too far off to tell more than that. So, a small scouting party was assembled to try and find this mysterious stranger that was headed in their general direction. They've just ventured out of the gates of the house now, into the streets. The spotters back at the House lost track of the skulker when whoever-it-is went into an alleyway, but their last reported position was up the streets to the west.

Scouting. It's not /really/ a Deck sort of thing, but having been the rooftop watchman on duty this shift meant that Tyr was packed up and sent off in that bulky armor to go looking for whatever that movement was. "Hope we're not just chasing some rats, sirs," he says sheepishly as he keeps his sidearm out, awkwardly, by his side.

One of those sirs, much to his chagrin, is Shiv. He could've been eating, sleeping, or smoking a joint right now, but instead? He's out here in the damp, muggy heat, tracking down some supposed interloper. He's wisely left his jacket behind in the embassy, and hasn't bothered strapping any body armour on over his layered tanks and combat fatigues. Just his sidearm for this little venture, holstered at his thigh while he walks apace of Bannik. "If so," he murmurs, eyes skimming the street ahead of them and an alley formed by two smaller brownstones, to the west, "that's one damned big rat."

"Rats…they're good eats right about now, aren't they?" Cilusia is trudging along with the rest of the scouting party, chest armor on, but down to just her tanktop under the stuff in the post-storm heat and humidity. A healthy sheen of sweat covers the exposed skin, and her hair is unusualy poofy even in the tied back ponytail. "You know, when the weather gets like this, it almost feels like home. Just about as rundown, too." Crunch, crunch, crunch go her boots as she chats in step over the gravel and broken pieces of everything, holding her rifle lightly across her chest.

"With all due respect, Cilusia? Not in super-good-taste to compare anything before this to this. Just saying." Bannik sounds more wry than actually offended, but he does send an arched eyebrow over to the more senior deckhand. He creeps ahead at the front of the pack, walking towards the last spotted location

Sitka leaves the witty repartee to the deck hands, and forges on. The sun's low enough not to require squinting into its glare, and the recent rain's left stagnant puddles of water that'd be rife with mosquitoes— if this wasn't the end of the world. His boot hits one square, splooshing dirty water across the leg of his fatigues, and whomever's unlucky enough to be nearby at the time.

A distant, thrumming, mechanical sound slowly creeps into the shattered cityscape. As it grows nearer and nearer, echoing off the burned buildings, it becomes recognizable — that of a car, the engine roaring as it tries to provide the speed its driver demands of it.

The car turns a distant corner and suddenly becomes louder, accompanied by the stuttery chirps of tires imperfectly clinging to pavement. Louder, and louder still, until the guilty party comes into view further down Colonial Row — a well-loved (nearly-to-pieces) black convertible. It bears a driver and passenger… and apparently no gas, for a moment later the engine coughs and dies, leaving the vehicle to coast ingloriously to a halt. Female voices, mirthful, drift faintly down the street toward the scouting party.

Down that alleyway to the west, the figure spotted by the patrol (or at least, a figure matching that vague description in every way expect resembling a rat) is crouched in front of a gate through the thick wall at the back of one of the other brownstones. She's attempting to pick the lock, but shifts at the crunching of gravel caused by the patrol's arrival, and then the more distant rumble of an engine. A sidearm is drawn rapidly out of the top of her boot and she stands, back pressed to the alley wall as she edges back down it to peek carefully out towards the street.

Bannik may not have been on the most dangerous missions of this Leonis expedition, but he does know enough to be frightened by loud noises coming from near him. He spins and points his sidearm at the oncoming car, shouting: "Hey! Stop! Colonial military —" His voice trails off as he furrows his brown behind his glasses. "Who the frak is out there?" In his show of challenging the strangers, he misses anyone creeping about.

The passenger car door opens, creaking heavy on its hinges, "Well. It's a good day for a walk?" Choked with laughter, Sawyer's voice is louder than usual, and it takes to an echo in the empty streets. There's a pause as she stops long enough to get something out of the trunk, and then there's the tromp of boots in the direction of the Virgon embassy and the scouting party. Her boots skitter to a halt as she rounds a corner and sees Bannik weilding a firearm in her direction. "Frak!" Acting like she was caught red handed, she drops two big grocery bags she was toting, one landing with a distinct crash of glass. "Double frak!" Her hands raise (amusingly enough, the knuckles are decorated with a rainbow color of cheap plastic rings and a long tatter of what was probably once a tablecloth or a curtain is wrapped around her neck like a scarf), "It's just us!" She calls to the group. "Tis…they sent out a search party."

Sitka has his hand on his sidearm, and the pistol drawn the instant he hears that distinctive rumbling of an engine. Pivoting away from his original course, he palms the weapon in both hands and drops down behind a half-obliterated wreck of a hatchback. As Bannik calls out to the occupants, he starts to wave him down as well— then pauses when he catches a glimpse of the approaching car. A muttered profanity under his breath. "Hey, it's fine. Tyr, it's fine." Back to his feet again, pistol safetied. "Don't frakking shoot, it's just Thelma and Louise." And off he goes again, zeroing in on that alleyway to the group's west. "Cilusia, Tyr, let's go."

"Have you ever been to Scorpia? If you'd visited before, seen where I grew up…you might get a little chuckle," Cilusia tries to explain to Bannik…about the time that the looks up the alley and spots the low light glinting off of something metal. Which happens to be shaped like a gun. Which happens to be in the hands of someone. "Hey! You there in the alley! Put that gun the frak down!" Cilusia calls out, turning and shouldering her rifle simultaneously to point down the alley. "Identify yourself!"

Tisiphone, either unfearing of Bannik and his sidearm, or possessing a deathwish, doesn't drop her groceries — though she does grimace at the sound of smashing glass. "Aw, frak naw," she moans, staring down at the liquid already leaking out of the paper bags. Then, raising her voice: "Tyr, hey! It's just us!" Sneakiness? Scouting party? Oops. "We're-" Her voice cuts out as Sitka continues moving off and Cilusia's suddenly raising her rifle. "Frak," she mutters, cutting a sidelong glance to Sawyer. "Uh. Let's move it. Stick near some cover."

"What the frak are you two doing?" Bannik sounds less like a pissed-off CO or drill instructor and more like a disapproving little brother that just caught his sisters coming back from a college frat party. He drops his hands down to his side and begins a short jog towards them. "What are these things? What —" And then more shouts come from what is now behind him; he spins on his heel to see what the new problem is.

Sawyer looks down to her feet and has time to nudge it with her boot and mutter, "Hope that wasn't your cherries," before all Hades breaks loose down the street. Oh shit son, this might not be about them? "Danger, Will Robinson, Danger." Okay, so maybe they found some wine too, in the Restaurant district. Regardless, Sawyer skitters off towards some cover, which just so happens to be behind Tisi.

In the alley's mouth, Cora suddenly vanishes again, though there's no sounding of feet on gravel to suggest she's done more than flatten herself back against the wall. For a moment, there's no response to Cilusia's demand, but then comes a shout: "Hold your approach and identify yourselves!"

"Lower your weapon," Sitka tells Cilusia, calmly but with a perceptible edge of irritation. His own pistol is still out, muzzle aimed toward the ground as the group enters the mouth of the alley. There's a brief glance over his shoulder to keep track of Sawyer and Tisiphone; only enough to assert that they're well back and out of proverbial harm's way, then his attention's on the deepening shadows into which Cora vanished. "We're not moving any closer, and we're not shooting. Colonial military; I'm Captain Sitka, and my friends are Crewman Bannik and Petty Officer Fasi. That's Sawyer Averies and Ensign Apostolos back there." After a hesitant pause, "Mind coming out where we can see each other?"

"Good to know we're still friends after your Viper blew up on my watch," Bannik murmurs under his breath at Sitka's announcement of all of them, still tense at the shouting back and forth. But still, he moves near Sawyer and Tisiphone, trying to urge Sawyer down to the relative safety of the convertible that comes from crouching. "Down here, Ms. Averies."

"Frak /that/, the cherries are in here," mutters Tisiphone to Sawyer. It's a little defensive — as if she's trying to force her will upon Reality and Make It So. "C'mon. Over this way." She keeps low, head hunkered down between her shoulders, legs bent to keep most of her behind the blasted-out cars that line the street. Wherever that convertible came from, it sure as Hades wasn't from around here. As the two of them near Bannik, she crouches to put her groceries down and attend to more practical things — drawing and checking her sidearm. The practiced motion is more than a little ridiculous with a bright blue gemstone sucker-ring on her right hand.

"Hey, you're the boss, but if I get shot…" Cilusia mumbles, leaving the statement unfinished past that. The rifle gets lowered…but not safetied, not held at rest across her chest. "Yeah…come on out. We're not going to shoot unless you're shiny and made of metal." She pauses. "Or unless you look a certain way. I'm sick and tired of getting jumped by frakkin' toasters." She closes her stance up a bit, relaxing a little.

Sawyer snickers quietly, "Bannik made me bust Tisi's cherry…oh, right right. Duck and cover." Sawyer scuttles after the other two and gets low behind the vehicle. "Wouldn't do to be collateral damage so close to going home. Oh look…" The reporter says, lofting her hand up to look at her myriad of plastic mood rings in the light, "…they do work. Blue is sad…" She cranes her neck to look back where the others are near the alley. "Who are they talking to?"

There's another long pause, made longer by, you know, all the guns and uncertainty, and then that pistol Cilusia saw appears first, held lowered, much like the petty officer's, and behind it, a wary-looking Cora. She doesn't move far from the alley, not even really out of it so much as she steps off the wall and into its mouth, where they can see her and she can see them and three steps could take her back into a shadow and running. Her eyes are narrowed, squinting slightly in the dying light at the party in the street. "Lieutenant Nikephoros," she finally calls back, traces of a Caprican accent even in those two words, and then, "Where did you lot come from?"

Sitka likely didn't hear that murmured comment from Bannik— that, or he's got more pressing issues to attend to, at the moment. Leaving the tech in charge of 'Thelma' and 'Louise' for the time being, he trains his eyes on the fair-haired woman who creeps back out into view. His service pistol remains lowered, finger resting inert over the trigger. "It's kind of a long story," he replies with a hint of chagrin, and a subtle narrowing of blue eyes. "I guess you could say we've been stranded here, and we're working on a way off this rock." A beat, as his finger slides off the trigger. "You're Caprican. How'd you end up here?"

As part of a pincer tactic, Trask and Croke took a parallel route, just in case they needed to box-in the 'target'. Coming up on this particular alley, voices can be heard. "Let's see what the frak this is about this time, shall we?" the ECO murmurs to the corpsman, then carefully peeks around the corner, rifle readied.

"Was it everything you thought it would be?" mutters Tisiphone to Sawyer, throwing a sidelong glance and a snort to the other woman. "Sticky, messy, a black bitch to clean up after?" She checks her Five-seveN a second time, then recollects her groceries. "I'm getting closer," she announces, under her breath, before moving forward to the next burnt-out vehicle, trying to catch sight of the face attached to the distant sound of Cora's voice.

Bannik is keeping himself stationed on Sawyer-protection-duty, remaining low and crouched by the conked out car. "What did you two get /into/ back there?" Bannik asks, eyeing Sawyer warily. "Yikes."

For her part, Cilusia is smart enough to know when to shut it the frak up. She doesn't volunteer any information about their current abode to Cora, or anything about where they're stationed. She just shifts on her feet and reaches up to scratch her head a little bit under the helmet, which is only casually sitting on her head, loosely strapped down and not tightened in the least.

"Was on leave visiting when the bombing started," Cora replies to Sitka, still eyeing the group warily, still not lowering that gun any further, or removing her finger from the trigger. She glances between those visible, and her chin shifts, head turning slightly, almost a flinch, at a vague flash of movement from Tisiphone's direction, but then she looks back to Sitka and asks, still warily: "What ship are you from, then?"

<FS3> Sitka rolls Social: Success.

There's a clack of plastic, as Sawyer twiddles her fingers in a wave to the departing Tisiphone before she slumps back against the car. "Well, first we raided the kitchens of several restaurants over on the east…west? of town. Then we hit up a Cubit Store on the way back for candles, cheap candy and of course my new bling. Do you like?" She thrusts her hand underneath Bannik's nose to show off her collection of various shaped accoutrements. "You know. One of those stores where everything is a Cubit or less? Quality merchandise, there. Why we couldn't find a designer shoe store, I'll never know." Comes the ramble of someone who has a nice buzz going. "Really. What's going on over there? I'm a Reporter. It's my job to /know/."

"I'm a deckhand," Bannik responds to Sawyer. "It's my job to fix planes. Yet here I am, huh?" He delivers it with a certain earnest irony, half-kidding, half not. "Just stick close and I'll try to make sure your head doesn't get taken off, okay?"

For the nonce, Trask continues to quietly observe, assessing the situation.

"Bet you dropped all the frakking wine," Tisiphone mutters, sotto voce, before slinking out of conversation range, on to the next vehicle. From here, she can finally see past Sitka, down the alleyway to Cora. She leans forward, pistol trapped between her hand and the fire-blackened hood of the car.

Sawyer pats Bannik's cheek a little heavy handedly. "Still didn't answer my question. That's okay, I forgive you as long as you help bring the groceries in…Blasphemer!" Gets called after Tisiphone, before Sawyer falls blissfully quiet.

There's a palpable pause before the Captain answers, during which a measure of the stranger appears to be taken. His eyes flick to the weapon in her hand, then back to her face without so much as a flinch otherwise; his sidearm remains pointed at the ground, his bulky frame nuanced with a slight tension. "The Battlestar Cerberus," he offers finally. The gesture's made cautiously, but made nonetheless. "Maybe we should, uh, put our guns away. It's five— no, make that seven of us to one of you, so your odds don't look too good if this turns into a shootout, yeah?"

"Y'a'right there, Shiv? 'Cuz I can totally blow 'er spine out from this angle, if ya want," Bootstrap breezily calls out from his spot behind Cora.

"What?" Croke protests. "Aw, hells no, man. If anyone gets the kill shot, I do. It's why I enlisted."

Tisiphone toes her brimming paper bag of groceries in against the flat tire of the car she's leaned up against, then strolls around the side of it, toward the alleyway. Her handgun remains pointed down at the cracked pavement, but given the sharpness of her stare, it's a fair bet the safety's off. She pauses not far from Cilusia's side with a wordless nod. She seems rather wary, despite the (supposed?) strength in numbers the Captain pointed out.

Cora's brows lift slightly, pulling together as she repeats, "Cerberus?" She doesn't seem unfamiliar with it so much as surprised, but whatever she might have asked next is cut off by Sitka's suggestion that they lower their weapons. And whatever reply she might have made to that, or any hesitation that might have followed? That's cut off by Trask and Croke behind her. They get a glance over her shoulder, a brief twist of her lips and wrinkle of nose signalling her displeasure at having been snuck up on. She turns back to Sitka and lowers her weapon the rest of the way, making sure he can see her slowly draw her coat back and stick the gun into her belt then display empty hands to both the captain and those behind her.

"Antar ahmag," grumbles Sitka under his breath in rapid Sagittarian, when Trask makes himself known in only the way that Trask can. "Khak bar saret mashang." It's not really spoken loud enough for anyone but himself, and possibly Cilusia to hear. His next words however, are pitched across to the woman, "Thank you." And then his own pistol follows, slid into its holster at his thigh without his eyes coming off Cora. "Kal, could you escort her back with us?" A question, fond as he is of giving those in lieu of orders. To the rest, merely a curt nod to signify they're off.

Tisiphone doesn't move for a few moments after Sitka gives the word to head out. Late to the party, she needs a little time to appraise the newcomer, herself. Finally, though, with a parting sidelong glance at Cora, she turns to head back for her bag of groceries, slipping her sidearm back into its holster as she walks.

"Only because you asked so nicely, Abe," is Trask's NutraSweet reply. "C'mon, Croke. You can pull the trigger if she does something fatally stupid." No, the yobbo of a Taurian doesn't care whether or not Cora heard that. (Likely, she did.) "Right, then," the ECO continues, lowering his rifle somewhat, "If you'd be so to join us, milady…" As if the unknown el-tee really has much of a choice.

Cora watches Sitka and Cilusia lower their weapons, and then looks back at Trask and Croke. She definitely heard that bit about fatal stupidity, but doesn't seem inclined to anything of the sort at the moment. Hands, still empty, are lowered, and she moves with the rifle-wielding escorts, glancing at Trask and inquiring, "How long have you all been here?"

"Too frakkin' long," Cilusia mumbles. She slides into step behind the little convoy on the way back to the embassy, hanging back with Trask and Croke. Finally, the rifle is safetied and laid back across her chest while she walks with them.

"I always ask nicely," Sitka retorts, mouth pulling crookedly to one side in what doesn't quite pass muster as a smile. Quite content to let Trask and Croke play the thugs du jour, Sitka turns on his heel after a rather protracted study of the disheveled young Lieutenant, and falls into a flanking position in order to cover the ECO. He only veers off briefly to seek out Tisiphone, and mutter something to her before pulling away again to thread between burned-out vehicles and collapsed sections of asphalt.

"Got it," is Tisiphone's response to Sitka's muttered words. Her tone is mistrustful at best. She again looks back toward Cora and her retinue, watching for a half-dozen steps or so before stooping to collect the brimming paper bag and fall in along with them.

"Does he?" Trask blithely asks the somewhat sloshed Sawyer about Sitka's manners. He also really doesn't wait for an answer and simply echoes Cilusia's assessment. "What she said." As for being a thug du jour, Bootstrap is a Black Country boy. That's makes him rough-and-tumble by even Tauron's already rough-and-tumble standards.

Up close, Cora is mostly just filthy and exhausted-looking, as anybody would be who's spent a while in Kythera. She limps slightly as she walks along with her sort-of captors, flicking a keen, pale-blue gaze back and forth between those around her as they head for the embassy. "The whole time?" she asks, following up on Trask and Cilusia's vague answers.

"Five weeks, I think it's been. You start losing track after a while." Tisiphone's voice, quiet, a little scratchy, and still not very friendly. Not that anyone's really playing Welcome Wagon for anyone else, at this point. "We were supposed to be here and gone again in fourty-eight hours." A soft snort. So much for THAT. She turns around, backing through the embassy gates with the ear-piercing whine of metal on metal, and stands off to the side to watch the others go through.

"Ladies first," the ECO ushers Cora with the muzzle of his rifle. Although Trask doesn't sound as unfriendly as Tisiphone, someone with a keen sense for such things could pick-up a somewhat derisive undercurrent to his tone. Glibly, he adds, "Lieutenant Oberlin is far more eloquent in not giving answers," as if that's some manner of consolation prize, "and he's the one who'll determine if you are who you say you are, and what you need to know."

"Five weeks?" Cora seems surprised by that as well, remarking, "You sure dropped in quietly," before Trask's rifle nudges her. She heads in the gate Tisiphone opens, ignoring those undercurrents from all around, except for the one that says none of her questions are likely to get answered from here on out. "Guess I'll wait and ask him, then," she says simply of Oberlin, looking about at the compound as they enter.

"If you call getting our ship shot out from under us 'quietly', I guess." Tisiphone kicks the embassy gates closed behind her with a long and shuddery scre-e-eak, then kicks them a second time to set the crossbar. The metallic CLUNK echoes down Colonial Row as the Ensign casts a final, uneasy glance behind them before vanishing within.

With a facetiousness that belies the truth of the statement, Trask notes, "I'm gonna have to agree with Apostolos there, seeing how I really don't consider having to emergency eject from my Raptor with my unconscious pilot 'cuz a Heavy Raider blasted the shit outta the cabin to be quiet. Never mind the crunching sound that came from when we landed cuz' we were too close to the surface for our chutes to be of much use." Ah, good times. That said, he and Croke follow behind.

"And trudging through the woods. And getting attacked by enough wolves and bears that we should be qualified to film a nature TV show or something." Oh, and all that other stuff. But, Cilusia leaves that to those inside. Mission accomplished, for the moment at least, Cilusia follows everyone into the embassy, but disappears off to a private-ish room for a while.

Fade back to Virgon House…

Virgon House - Leonis
A high wrought-iron fence punctuated by stone columns forms the perimeter for the grounds of the Virgan Embassy, its spindles spaced close together to keep unwanted visitors off the premises. The gate, however, isn't as functional as its original intent, wrenched wide at one point and now merely half-heartedly chained together with ample room to squeeze through. Wide grounds, once manicured, now look overgrown and tangled with the greenery struggling to survive. Disturbingly, the lawn is disrupted closer to the building, a macabre line of shallow graves pitting the the earth with the pocked-blade shovel embedded in the yellowing sod at the end of the row like a silent sentinel awaiting his next mission. The three story building's windows are shattered and fire smudged, like broken tar-stained teeth on an expressionless face. The bottom level has received orthodontics in the form of barricades both inside and out, with furniture shoved in front of the openings, and some with the haphazard 'x' of boards nailed to the frames. Outside, the tattered remains of the Virgon flag blithely showing its colors upside-down in the universal sign of distress.
Post-Holocaust Day: 109

On grounds, midway between heaven and earth hangs suspended a pilot by one knee crooked over a tree branch. His other knee out to his side, bent in again to hook ankle with his other ankle in a sort of failsafe. Left arm out to the side, gripping a rope hanging there from the branch like he might a staff were he otherwise vertically oriented to the universe, right arm hangs down overhead.

Cora is escorted into the compound at the point of Trask's rifle, commenting to her escort, "It didn't carry to Center City, was what I was saying." The grounds inside the fence earn the new arrival's attention and then, of course, so does the man hanging by his leg from the tree. She doesn't say anything, just stares for a second and then gives her head the tiniest little shake, as if to clear it, and finally says, "Huh."

No sooner than arriving, the Saggies scurry off (likely to smoke), Bannik assists a tad bit tipsy Sawyer inside the embassy, and Cilusia is somewhere doing Cilusia-type things. Trask doesn't reply to Cora's comment. Instead, he calls out to the Hanged Man, "Bunny-boy, I brought you a present." And, no, it is not Croke, who is nearby the ECO.

Evandreus stares impassively toward the gates as the crew heads in, only stirring from his trance-like state when he notices Boots has someone stuck to the tip of his gun again. A grunt and a yank on the rope and he's finagling his other leg up over the branch and grabbing at the branch with his arm, as well, finally managing to sit up straight on top of the branch, wavering a little, dizzy, as the blood rushes out of his head. "What is it?" he wonders, balancing himself with one hand on the branch as he drags his other set of fingers through his hair.

"It's a lieutenant," Cora says dryly in response to Evandreus's question, shooting a glance back to Trask as she continues, Caprican accent clipped as pale brows draw down in mild but increasing annoyance, "And it is getting a little fed up with this treatment. Do you want to see dog tags?" she asks him, "Would that get this rifle out of my kidney?"

It's a Lieutenant. Somewhere between the rank and the entitled Caprican clip of the woman's speech the Bunny moves the hand at his head about into a confused meander of a salute, as though it were reacting to her presence without its owner's consent. "Why do I get a Lieutenant?" he murbles on, looking from Trask to Croke and back again.

"Or so it claims," Kal carries on with a sort of non-chalant impudent glee. Of Croke, he asks, "/Is/ it her kidney? Looks like the back of 'er ass to me." Indeed, that actually is where the Taurian is quasi-aiming. Fitting with how he's actually being a pain in the ass. "You're the medic, though, so I'll defer to your professional opinion." Answering Evan's question, "Because I love you and know you've wanted a puppy of your very own. Afraid this is the best I can do." <Insert Bitch Joke Here> Finally, however, Trask gets around to Cora. "Eh, why not," is mildly shrugged, "Either you'll prove to be an officer or we'll find out if you've had all your vaccinations."

Tisiphone arrives from the Colonial Row.

Evandreus finally grabs onto the rope with both knees and one hand, shifting his ass off of the tree branch and scooting down the rope 'til he's sitting on the swing. "Gosh, Kal," he tells the guy, "Do you need to keep aiming that at her?" he asks, almost plaintive. Sick of the sight of guns, Bunny is, by now. "Even if she's not a Lieutenant, doesn't mean she deserves a butt fulla lead. We'd have to line up all the ensigns, next, were that so."

Cora takes in Evan's salute before rolling her eyes at Trask and Croke's discussion of their aim, and then finally she just turns around to look at the former, gaze hard. "Listen, JG, I don't know what the frak is going on with you lot, but I've spent more than a hundred godsdamned days in this place, which was a pathetic excuse for a city even before it got nuked to pieces. As you can maybe imagine, it has been a shit couple of months waiting for -anybody- to bother showing up, and now I'm being treated like I'm… what? A criminal? An enemy? I don't even begin to understand where these suspicions are coming from but somebody had better explain them to me pretty damned quick and in the meantime you can show some respect because I assure you that you that I -am- a superior officer and you -will- wish that you had." Evandreaus' contribution draws her gaze and a nod and she replies, "Thank you, that's more like it."

Treated like a criminal, an enemy, or- "Like an abomination before the Lords and Ladies waiting to call in her Centurion lackeys?" Tisiphone's voice, a little too chipper to be really chipper, filling in some suggestions for Cora's questions. She's lighting a cigarette as she wanders out, her pale stare barely visible from beneath sun-bleached brows.

Maybe if Trask weren't the kind of person who would — and has — sassed Captains (including his Squadron Leader), Majors (including his CAG and the battlestar's XO), and a Rear Admiral (that being the Cerberus' CO), maybe Cora's threat would actually be threatening. Alas, that's the kind of person that he is, which means he simply adopts a stance of false gravitas. The solemnity of his expression is completely undermined by the impertinent gleam in his large, brown eyes. "Potential threat sounds much more poetic, don't you think?"

Oh, but then there is a Saggie. Spotting Tisiphone, Trask doesn't hesitate to call out, "Yo, Apostolos. You attended Fleet on Caprica." This is going somewhere the Ensign undoubtedly will not like. "You have experience with this," he indicates Cora with a vague gesture of one hand, "kind of thing." That being Capricans. "I'm gonna go find Oberlin or Kulko. Congratulations. It's a girl."

Evandreus' eyes are drawn to the flicker of flame and the chipper outpouring of words, gaze hardening from the affable if sick-of-it-all to downright irritated. "You can't just assume that every Tom, Dick and Whatsit leftover in this city is one of -those,-" he points out. "Are we here to help people or just alienate them?" Bunny's on his period, don't mind him. Having been about to dismount, completely, he instead retreats back up into the branches of the tree, up past the one he'd been hanging from earlier.

"Like a -what-?" Tisiphone caught Cora's attention for sure, and Trask's casual rudeness is, sadly, ignored in favor of the alleged-Lt. turning to the ensign with brows drawn together in puzzlement quickly deepening into a frown. "Centurion lack— why would I call in— are people -working- with them?!" She cycles through thoughts quickly, without the filter one would expect from the sort of Caprican she seems to be, the resulting guess voiced with a combination of incredulity and horror with a healthy dose of contempt. Evan may climb back up his tree but that doesn't stop her from looking after him, demanding, "One of what?" before turning the question on the others as well with a look.

When doesn't /everything/ Trask says lead to something Tisiphone doesn't like? Her steps gradually slow to a halt as she looks up from a thick puff of smoke, blowing it out in his direction. "Yeah. Caprica City Campus," she answers warily. "Why?" A glance from him to Cora, then back again. "Stephen's gorging himself on those frakking nasty cheese-and-cracker packets. Better be quick or he'll be comatose somewhere."

That said, as a sort of passing of the Mistrust Torch from Trask to Tis, the Ensign tucks her cigarette into the corner of her mouth and slides her sidearm out, checking it quickly before holstering it away again. "Working with them. Brainwashing them. Cloning them. We haven't had the resources to figure it out, you know? And no way of telling for sure until the Centurions roll in." A wide, mirthless smile.

Evandreus lets the others impart the news about the brainwashed humans, picking his way over to another branch and finding a place to lean. Abandoning his new puppy like a spoiled toddler the day after Saturnalia. And even though he tries to think of more reasons to tell Tisiphone She's Wrong, something about the new woman's situation nags at the back of his brain. Or a couple of somethings. But, setting his concerns aside, "What's your name?" he wonders down at the woman, voice more its usual gentle timbre than it was a few moments ago.

"Sorry to interrupt the girl talk," Bootstrap blithely cuts in, really not sorry at all, "but Croke needs to pat you down for weapons." 'You' being Cora, and Croke being close enough to a Marine. The latter, by the by, is overtaken by a wide grin. Clearly, the corpsman enjoys his job. "And I need to confiscate them. You'll get 'em back if and when the boys in-charge say so." This is all relayed matter-of-factly. What comes next, however, is with all the cheek of a naughty school boy. "By the way, I'm junior grade Lieutenant Kal Trask. That's K-a-l T-r-a-s-k. I figured you should know my name since you're intending to make me rue this day." The man even bats his lashes for good measure. Might as well go for the gusto.

At the mention of nasty cheese-and-cracker packets, Cora's eyes flick towards Trask, departing to find a man in possession of large numbers of them, and the building beyond where that man and his gross-food horde presumably are located, and then she glances away again quickly, back to Tisiphone, whose words first send her eyes briefly wider and then narrow again, a hand raising to press the heel of it into her forehead, right between the eyes. "Well," she says more slowly when she drops her hand, less irritated and more tired, "That's going to make everything more difficult." She looks up to the tree as the man in it asks a question, and replies, "Lieutenant Cora Nikephoros." As for getting patted down, she sighs, and opens her coat to display the gun they all saw her put there earlier, which she draws slowly out with thumb and forefinger only and hands over before holding out her arms to submit to the frisking. Trask gets a bored look, and she replies, "What, can't you spell 'lieutenant'? Too many letters?"

"Nah. Just figured if you really are an El-tee, you'd already know how to spell it. Just in case, though: it isn't l-o-o-t-e-n-e-n-t." Wryly, he smirks. "Thank you kindly," Trask says, accepting the gun from Cora and anything else that Croke might find. Since he's only really 98% jerkass, the ECO adds, "If you're tired, Bunny can find you a comfy place, relatively speaking, to crash. There's also some running water, albeit cold, and I'm sure a snack can be scrounged. I imagine you're hungry." Which is one of the man's weak spots: people going hungry. That all said, he heads off with a departing, "Later, peeps."

"No?" Cora forces those brows, pale even beneath the grime, up exaggeratedly high before she snaps her fingers, heading shaking, "I was sure that was it. I guess you've got me now." She rolls her eyes, but the mention of sleep, and then running water, and then food… well, those are clearly her weak spots, at the moment, because the snark fades as she just nods and even replies after a pause, "Yeah. Thanks."

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