PHD #413: House of Cards
House of Cards
Summary: After a report by Kincaid, Constin loses his temper to Mathers
Date: 15 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: Immediately after Abnormal Circumstances
Constin Cora Kincaid Mathers 
Security Hub - Deck 6
More than just an office for the Marines and their XO, this room has remote surveillance views of the Brigs as well as a state of the art communications center built into the far bulkhead. A locked and heavily armored door to the aft leads into another room, the white lettering on it reading 'ARMORY.' There are a few desks scattered around the room for getting necessary paperwork done and the Commandant's picture hangs on the wall next to one of the President.
Post-Holocaust Day: #413

The door to the MaA's office has opened, and a Cora is walking out of it, followed shortly thereafter by a visibly displeased Gunnery Sergeant.

Life hasn't been normal since well over a year ago. Ever since then, it has just been a series of one fire after another to be put out. But such is War. The XO of Bravo Company pushes into the security hub, exchanging one clipboard for another from a tired looking private as he crosses towards the MaA's office. His boots draw up short and his shoulders square as his gaze pulls up from Cora's boots to her face. The toothpick between his lips gets ticked to the other side of his mouth and his eyes drag over to the Gunny. The silent message is clear, 'explain'.

Constin states flat and curt: "Jag's office ordered the Captain released immediately. Sir. Any questioning had to be at her discretion. Sir." The Master-at-Arms is making a strong effort to keep his temper in check, while in the public space of the Security Hub, but one need not be a mind reader to guess his mood.

"And I answered all of the Gunnery Sergeant's questions anyway, out of the goodness of my heart and a desire to make sure we're all able to do our jobs," Cora offers next, smiling at Constin, "Didn't I, sergeant? Evening, Captain Mathers," she adds to the XO. She's just faintly red still, from her time aboard Areion, and thin-faced from the plague that caught her for a while beforehand, but otherwise looks in good spirits.

Mathers doesn't sidestep out of Cora's way as she bids him a good evening, if that was indeed in parting. He looks from one to the other, and the cinnamon sliver makes a trip back across the expanse of his mouth. It wouldn't be any more obvious that he is thinking, unless you could actually see the gears in his head turning. "And I'm sure Captain Nikephoros will remain available should you have any more questions, Gunny."

Cora's cheerful response draws a sharp sidelong look from the big sergeant, but no comment. Mathers' comment is semi-answered by the clipped words, "Yeah. Would request words with you, Ay-sap. Sir." The words are low and terse.

"I will," Cora replies with a nod, tone more serious, "I'd like to get to the bottom of this matter as much as you would, gentlemen. So if you have other questions, let me know and I'll come discuss them with you as soon as I am able." She glances between the two Marines, and smiles faintly and then nods, "I'll leave you to it." Mathers gets a hand on his shoulder as she passes, and a, "Good to see you, Zane."

Mathers turns his head slightly, following Cora with his gaze as she steps past. And touches him. And calls him by his first name. There is a twitch of a smirk? Grimace? At the corner of his mouth. "Please keep us apprised of your whereabouts, should the need arise, Captain. A pleasure, as always." Though the words are thin given the tension in the room. His attention swivels back to his Master at Arms. "Let's step into your office." A curt nod given in that direction.

"Yes. Sir." Those are the two words with which Constin answers Mathers' recommendation that they step into his office. The door is still open, the security codes not yet having been punched in to lock the hatch after the exit of himself and… HER. Without further ado, the Master-at-Arms steps back inside his office.

The her being Cora, who appears to just be on her way out of the Security Hub, though she doesn't appear to be in any particular hurry.

Kincaid's just about bolting into the Security Hub. He's got an inter-office mail envelope in hand, and looks around with his eyes flashing left. Flashing right. "Gunny! Gunny!" He sounds slightly breathless. "You've got to see this!"

The XO rolls his shoulders, as if trying to unknot some tension from his frame. It apparently needs a good neck roll too, before he can proceed into the MaA's office to get down to the matter at hand. Of course, this all gets halted as Kincaid busts into the security hub. "Why don't we all take a look." All, not including Cora, as he watches her again now that his attention has been drawn back towards the main hatch. A hand extends inviting Kincaid into the meeting he was just about to have with Constin.

Constin turns around as his rank is called excitedly, looking a whole lot like he's ready to bite off heads and spit teeth. "What?" he barks, taking a couple heavy steps toward Kincaid and holding out a hand to snatch at the offered envelope.

Cora is clearly not included in that 'everyone' and yet she lingers, turning curiously to watch Kincaid as he goes past and lingering near the door, watching the trio of Marines.

Kincaid's voice comes in a breathless rush. "So we've been pouring through the facebooks all night. While there might be a lot of tall, blonde people in the Fleet, there's no one that matches our arrested yeoman on Praetorian." He doesn't seem to particularly notice or care that Cora's here. "But our yeoman has an air-tight alibi and I don't think Serrin was manufacturing the whole story. So that leaves a possibility: What if the person who came to Serrin was lying, pretending who he claimed to be to make Serrin think that he was part of the Praetorian yeomanry staff."

Mathers clips the words. "Gunny. Corporal. Office. Now." The order is curt, no finger pointing or foot stomping necessary as the message is clear.

Cora smiles at Mathers's curt order, and takes another step towards the door. Not before shooting the captain a grin, however and… was that a wink? and then exiting.

Constin nods through Danny's excited oration, drawing a breath to answer before grinding his teeth closed at Mathers' directive as the trio step into the office, and the hatch door is thudded closed in an exertion of muscle that doesn't warm Elf's mood. "You find him on Areion?" he wonders bluntly, looking to cut to the chase even as he opens and inspects the envelope.

Kincaid follows into the office as ordered, but is talking excitedly through it. "Sort of," confirms the Lance Corporal. "I dug through the incoming passenger logs and we have some people from Areion who match the description. But, of course, I don't have access to Areion personnel records." Follow him here. "So, in a sort of desperate move, I hit up Pete's, showing the pictures the security cams got." He nods to the envelope. "It's fuzzy, but I got a hit. One of the waitresses recognized an Areion officer that bragged he did uncover work as a way to try to impress her into his bed."

Mathers breathes a little easier now that they're off the main floor, and away from prying eyes and more so, prying ears. There is a muttered, "Damanble woman." Under his breath before he lifts his gaze to look at Kincaid through his excited narration. He's interested, the Lance Corporal has his full attention even, but the XO remains silent.

Constin nods twice, impatiently to Kincaid's answer, studying the surveillance photo briefly. "You get a name, Lance? Would bet Areion didn't bother including his face in their crew mugshots, if he was getting used for covert shit, but we can work with a frakking name." Narrow blue eyes snap up to fix on Donut.

Kincaid shakes his head. "Waitress shot him down; didn't get a name. But she said he was definitely Areion. He was pretty sauced and bragging about all the undercover shit he did for them. But." He looks between the two. "This is something. She was positive she remembered the guy; said he was 'a real memorable one.'" Eyes flick between again. "We need to get this to the Major."

"The Major is currently…" There is a pause in Mathers' words as he grinds his teeth, and that poor battered toothpick. "…currently aboard a Raptor on her way to the Areion for a Command meeting." Now clearly he's trying to decide if they should follow with this news.

"Sunovabitch," Constin mutters. "You already check through the Areion files? Frakking photos and names was about all they gave us, but it's worth checking. Assuming the frakkers left this bastard out, we'll need to put out a Pee-Oh-Eye aboard Elpis and detain his ass, next time the fella comes in." A bullish exhale through the nose. "And check camera logs," Constin barks further. "Verify that Parry was really where she said she was at the time of this meeting. You got anything else, Lance?"

"I have a whole naval office on the Praetorian that confirms she was where says she was." Kincaid sighs when the information comes out where Madilyn is. "We can try to hunt her down by Wireless, but I bet we'll get the run around from the Areion. The bigger problem is how this guy hacked Vandenberg's computer. Either he's a skinjob or he set this up months in advance."

Mathers doesn't like where this is going, obviously, judging from the large storm cloud that's brewing in his eyes. "The Areion said they tested each and every one of their crew against The Gun. You were there, Gunny. Which means if he is a skinjob, Riederer was lying. Not that that would surprise me in the least at this point in time. And setting it up months in advance would mean that the jurors were known, which to my knowledge that information was not wide spread at the time."

Constin shakes his head, "If it's that clear, forget Parry. But-" As Kincaid excitedly babbles 'either he's a skinjob or…', the big sergeant states, "You drop that word without proof again and I will smack you in the mouth, Donut. The fella is party to an operation that resulting in the hacking of the Lieutenant's computer. That is the extent of what we are working with, ay-tee-em." As Mathers voices on the subject of testing, "Sir, I recommend the conclusions of testing involving Areion's Gun be flushed out the frakking airlock and never considered reasonable. Any Intel we get from them is compromised, plain and frakking simple. What we can't verify, our investigations can't trust."

Kincaid keeps going. "Unless there was a bug in the Marine system, a backdoor thing, and they just kicked it up for this particular thing when its need to get at Vandenberg became known." Again, he looks between them. "In which case our system may have been compromised ever since Areion got here. But either way, it's not good."

"Consider your recommendation under advisement, which is to say as soon as I can get my hands around Kepner's…" The thought trails off as Mathers' turns towards Constin's trash can, flicking his toothpick into the receptacle. "If all goes well, I'm hoping that whatever meeting is occuring right now will result in the removal of the Commander from his post. If all doesn't go well, we're sitting here further building the case against him. We'll need something more than conjecture and the statement of a stripper." Never mind that Kincaid said waitress. "I want his name. Otherwise, the Areion will just conveniently sweep this man under the rug and out of our reach."

"Consider all frakking options, don't just drop 'skinjob', you hear?" Constin addresses Kincaid before exhaling shortly. As talk turns to a potential deep compromise of their computers, "We're keeping crucial records off the network already, if the system is compromised, we can still operate. Now do you have anything else, Lance?"

"I think that's enough for right now, Gunny. Captain." Kincaid has a certain bitterness in his tone at the tongue lashing he's getting from his Master-at-Arms. He then says: "Is there anything you have for me before I get back to figuring this all out? Sir? Gunny?"

"You're doing a fine job, Lance Corporal. Keep up the good work, and report back with further findings. When the Major returns to the Cerberus, please have a full report on your progress waiting." Mathers says with a little nod of his head, the man's seal of approval.

"Only one more thing," Constin adds to Kincaid. "Don't tell Averies." The sharp look the pissed off sergeant levels on Danny with those words seem anything but flippant or amused. "Now give us the room."

"You got it, Gunny." And off Kincaid goes. Where is he going? Likely off to tell Sawyer. Or maybe do more investigation. It's a fifty-fifty shot.

Kincaid has left.

Once the hatch closes behind Kincaid, Mathers brings Constin's attention back to the original matter. "What happened with the JAG and Captain Nikephoros?" Not denying the MaA his own chair, the XO props himself up on the corner of Constin's desk.

Constin keeps his feet as he seals the hatch behind the departing Kincaid. "Another in a long line of frakkups, sir," constin growls. "Captain Nikephoros has 'special dispensation'. What it boils down to is, she can break whatever rules, ignore whatever regs and in short do whatever the FRAK she wants, and regardless of proof, I can't touch her. SunovaBITCH, they didn't even let me question her before ordering a release!" the sergeant's voice steadily rising throughout the words.

Devoid of a toothpick, Mathers has nothing to focus his energies on but a straight grind of his teeth. "And those questions she said she answered?" His brow knits together in the middle so severely his eybrows nearly kiss over the furrow.

"She bypassed Cee-Eye-Cee security, without logging the action or gaining any authorization beyond her own discretion. Says it was because some non-military frequency wasn't being monitored, but again can not or will not provide any verification of this," Constin nearly spits. "And six hours later, an eight-one FRAKKING day long lull ends and the Cylons come back. I should have at LEAST been able to detain her long enough for a full inquiry. but since she has 'special dispensation' to do whatever the frak she likes in sniffing after skinjobs, she walks." Ire roused, the big man grows increasingly red faced as he goes on, "Jag's office has frakked up, undercut, or ignored this office since I took it, and Command ain't no better. Gotta wonder why the FRAK I'm sitting here-" disregarding the fact that he's still on his feet- "If I ain't allowed to do the damn job!"

Mathers pulls a calloused hand to his face, drawing it down his cheeks until it falls off the edge of his jaw. Fingernails clipped down to the quick scratch at the light scruff on the hallow of his cheek which is coming up on a five o'clock shadow that'll break regs if he doesn't shave by morning. "Alright, Gunny, alright. You're justified in your ire, but spitting brimstone isn't going to do any of us any good. Let me see exactly what this special dispensation is all about."

Constin snorts in a bullish exhale out his nose at the admonishment. "It ain't just that, sir. From forcing me to release Morgenfield- who murdered a pilot on her way out- to the frak-up they made of Abbott's trial, to that business with the boys what beat the tar outta me? And now Major Willows ain't even gonna press on the illegal detainments, then this business with Nikephoros? Frak me sideways with a crooked crowbar, but it feels an awful lot like Jag's making me wait until folks die before DOING anything. Regulations are getting bent at every frakking turn, and-" Seems the Gunny has a bit more bile to vent before simmering down.

"The thinking behind that, I gather, is that we'd rather have that person on the line than in the brig. We're at war, and able bodies are a commodity. Like the blokes in your case, it's now up to their CO to see that they're kept in line. Those fellows will be cleaning the head during every ounce of time they have off shift, and I mean to see to it they never have an hour of shore leave until they've paid their dues. It doesn't mean it's right, but those are the times we live in." Mathers says simply, no longer trying to talk Gunny back from that edge.

"I've heard just about enough of 'this is war' as an excuse for shit discipline and bending the rules, sir," Constin retorts. "Know it ain't you saying it, but it's shit thinking. Frak it all, the rules are these because folk get stupid when times get tough- why in the name of Athena's weeping cunt would we pick THESE times to start pitching the rules?" That bit of ire vented, he grinds his teeth together, and works at reining in his escaped temper. It takes a moment.

"Because we're just tick on a dog's ass away from being desparate." Mathers suddenly barks. "I don't like it. I don't condone it, but we have orders, Gunny. Frakking orders. And if we don't follow orders, then nobody will. So we do this by the book. By the godsdamned frakking book. The same reason we didn't go blasting down the doors of the Areion and yank our people out of there. Because we won't stoop to their level. We will take the higher road, the one spelled out in our frakking code. In our Dee En-frakking-Ay." When did Mathers get on his feet? "Let me do my job. Or this whole house of cards is going to fall."

"Sir the day I get in the way of a frakking Marine doing his damn duty is the day I go into the frakking ground," Constin returns sharply, with a curt nod. "I will follow my orders, like I've followed every Lords-be-Damned order I've gotten since I enlisted. Whatever else might go down? That ain't gonna change, sir."

Mathers clasps Constin on the shoulder. "You're a good man, Eleftherios. And a damn fine Marine. I'll have an answer to you about Captain Nikephoros before the end of shift tomorrow."

Constin exhales shortly, again, nodding a second time, as his stern composure at last fully re-asserts itself. "Obliged for that, Captain. Whatever Kincaid turns up, on top of anything else, I'll be sure you get direct."

Mathers is about to dismiss Constin by the looks of it, and then he glances back and forth. Can't dismiss a man from his own office. "As you were, then." A curt nod later, and Mathers is showing himself out.

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