PHD #368: How It's Gonna Go
How It's Gonna Go
Summary: Even though Leyla and Trask are not really in agreement, they manage to come to an agreement.
Date: 01 Mar 2042 AE
Related Logs: Blow Ups (what started it all), The Slow Spiral (Cidra speaks with Leyla about Trask), & Fix What's Festering (Cidra speaks with Trask about Leyla)
Leyla Trask 
Map Room - Deck 7 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #368
The one object that dominates this room is the one it is named for: the giant plotting table in the center of the room. Bottom-lit like the plot in CIC, this one is twenty feet across and about the same distance wide. The maps, which are rolled and kept in a locker at the side of the room, provide much more detail than most of the charts in CIC and are especially useful in planning tactical operations. Unscaled models of ships are available to be situated on the surface of the table and risers on each side of the room allow for a small audience to watch or be briefed. A single large LCD screen is built into the wall at the far end to display reconnaissance or other supplemental material.
Condition Level: 2 - Danger Close

Work, more than anything else, is what keeps the fleet running. The air wing, flying combat patrols; the engineers, overhauling the taxed FTL drives of the Elpis and the fleet; the deck repairing all of the damage that's been done to the ship's fighting planes over the last two weeks plus. Fear is in abundance, hope a scarcity. It's work, that seems to be keeping most of the people in the fleet going. Including Leyla, who's picked out a small space of the Map Room where she's reviewing flight plans and contingencies to the flight plans for the upcoming, at some point, recon of the downed transport in the shipping lanes. Flight suit, as usual. Condition Two is not good for anyone with a keen sense of fashion. Thankfully, Leyla is not one of those.

While it hasn't been 100% Cylon-free in Audumbla, there's also only been one (1) attack during these past four (4) days in the system, and that skirmish ended with the Swarm retreating for the first time since it started hunting the Fleet. How long this with last, no one can say, but the klaxons have not blared once during the past thirty-six (36) hours, and that amounts for something.

With the Deck crew a bit less harried, the Harriers SL resumed CAP detail a few days ago, being one of those with the most experience working in the sensor disrupting radiological miasma that is this sector. On several occasions, he's even tagged along to observe some rooks and offer advice and assistance when necessary. An ample amount of time is still being spent on the Deck, although it has largely shifted from fighter repairs to Raider dissection and analysis. Even so, the Raptors and Vipers require extra love, and he has not been slacking on the necessary extra maintenance of their electrical systems.

Now that most of the most pressing matters for Fleet survival have been addressed, Bootstrap can focus on smaller scale issues that most certainly require attention. And so it is that he tracks down one LT Aydin in the Map Room. The sound of the hatch opening is the only preamble to, "Aeolus?" It's not like he can really examine her data just yet. Doubtless, he'll take a gander now that he's closed the door behind him.

"No." Leyla continues with her calculations, plugging in projected drift of the space debris in the old Polias Run, overlaying the images up on the LCD with her plotted angles, working her way through data, trying to figure all of the possible entry points and evacuation vectors. The transport's not huge, but it might do as a lifeboat of sorts, if it came to that. And another ship in the fleet might not be amiss, "Space transport from the shipping lanes." Hey, at least she's not being rude, well mostly.

If she's being rude, it doesn't appear to be taken as such. Setting aside his helmet somewhere within reach but out of the way, Trask glances at the work-in-progress. "Polias, yeah?" It's been a little over a month since that AAR was submitted, but the SL apparently remembers the findings. As for the transport, "Wedged in tighter than a virgin's cooch, as I recall. Maybe the FTL engine can be salvaged and refitted for the Elpis, though." Seeing how that ship has something of a Frankenstein's monster of one. "Strip the electrical, grab some quality scrap. I reviewed the images," he adds, now looking to Leyla, "Think they might've been smugglers or pirates?"

Leyla continues working, despite the fact that Trask is making his way over. And she continues, because, frankly, company or no, Harriers SL or no, work has to get done, at speed, while they're still cylon free. "Yes. The first waypoint. It was the only intact ship we could find, all the Colonial remains and the raiders were scrapped. Picking them out of that asteroid field would have been the work for more than just our raptor. According to Marko's calculations, the drive's pretty fuel efficient, which would be an improvement from the one we've got on the Elpis. Which you'd expect from a ship like this. Smuggler, I'd say, with weapons added on after market for self-defense."

Being that he's not the one with the background of battling pirates and smugglers, he inquires, "Based on what you saw, whadda ya figure the cargo most likely was?" Not one to smoke in the Map Room, the man reaches into one of his many flightsuit pockets and retrieves a small tin of hard mints. Popping it open, he pops one in his mouth, then extends the tin to Leyla to partake of the minty goodness. Going back to the engine, "You run up a proposal to Toast, yet?"

"Given what we know of that area, and the fact that they felt they needed to defend themselves from attack, I'd say probably foodstock, maybe weapons." The Unification War, as it were, is, make that was, still alive and well in some of the colonies. "It doesn't look as if it had the hardware to smuggle tylium, but we'll have to get inside to be sure." A shake of her head, "Until I get a good flight plan in place, and we're not at Condition Two, there's no much point. But this ship was old. It's got welds on its welds. The question I have to ask is where did its crew go? They obviously egressed after she went down, and they'd have been stupid to do so before the Cylons had vacated the area."

Welds upon its welds? "I'd say it's possible they vacated before Warday, but the report mentioned the core was still hot, so I'm thinkin' they likely bailed not all that long before you found it." The tin is lightly rattled, mints sliding across metal and softly clacking, still proffered. As for where the passengers went, "No clue, but you should speak with Priest when you have the chance. He's something of an astrogation guru. Probably can help you deduce a likely course for a lifeboat."

"I'll get with Marko the next time I see him for our duty rotation, and ask him to talk to him, see what they can work out. If the crew left as recently as that, then that's even stronger evidence in favour of them having a working FTL drive which won't need the overhaul the one on the Elpis did, though I'm not an engineer, so I don't have any way to know if the FTL on this ship would be large enough to handle the Elpis' greater mass." Leyla finally looks up, eyes settling on the case of mints being rattled in her direction, "Thank you, no. I never much cared for mints." A beat. "She was called the Ithaca. Scorpia-registered."

*Snap* goes the lid with a flick of his thumb. "I'd offer to bring jerky next time, but I'm pretty sure you've stockpiled it all." Back into the pocket goes the tin. "Couldn't tell you," about the engine, "without either taking a look or having schematics to review. That's really somethin' for Engineering to worry about, though. If there's a way to make it all work, they'll figure it out." A nonchalant vote of confidence for the snipes. Sucking on the mint a bit, Trask then asks, "You get around to reviewing the Aeolus stuff?"

"Some, but that's not really my purview, at least not until Cidra decides if she's going to ship me back to the Harriers. I've been spending most of my time working out SAR plans for the Elpis in the event that her FTL drive fails to spin up the next time the Cylons attack." Clearly, leaving 500 plus civilians to fry isn't an option, but neither is rescuing all 500 of them in the time allotted with the man and ship power they have at their disposal. "Poppy's had as much time in the fields as I have, I have no doubt in her ability to plot a flight plan to the foundry."

"I don't doubt that she can for her birds. When it comes to plotting a course for the /capital/ ships through an interference-heavy asteroid field, though, a background in astrophysics surely is a boon, don'cha think?" With a playfully baiting gleam in his eyes, Bootstrap smiles. Somewhat more seriously, and with an off-handed delivery intended to off-set the trepidation he's feeling in broaching the subject, he notes, "It can be," her purview, "if you want it to be." No great wooing, this, but the offer wouldn't even be floated if he didn't want her back in the squad.

Leyla's hands busy themselves with pulling all of the materials she's put together back into an even pile, "I'm just a raptor pilot. I think we have a tactical department to take care of that sort of heavy lifting. And I know for a fact that I'm not the only astrophysicist on the ship, and probably not in the fleet." Once it's all back in order, she rises, finally, and turns to face the man standing not far from where she was sitting, "Did the Major send you in here to try to play nice with me?"

"She knows better than that," is wryly smirked with more than a hint of self-deprecation there. "She did, however, inform me that you had told her that you believe that I think you're incompetent. And /you/ should know me well enough to know that if I considered you such, even in the least bit, I certainly wouldn't want you back, and I sure as frak would not be trying to not go off on you for even thinking I'd think such a thing, nor would I care that you thought or felt that way." There are a few wrinkles of vexation in his brow. Whatever more Trask is inclined to add, he makes a concerted effort to hold his tongue. For the moment, he succeeds.

There's nothing belligerent in Leyla's tone, in her stance. If anything, her mood might be marked as resigned. "The feelings I expressed to you on the deck after we lost Mouse and Henry haven't changed. And six days isn't enough to forget the things you said about me, though it seems you've chosen to gloss over your own commentary on my faults and failings, as well as your implication that if I hadn't needed their assistance they would not have been dead. Nor have I become less aware that at the end of all of this, the CAG's response was tell me that clearly the only problem here was that I needed time away from you, which, well, why am I surprised? When has she ever attempted to bring you to heel?" There's a slight shake of Leyla's head, "A cheek doesn't forget the pain of a slap just because the bruise has faded from the skin."

"I haven't glossed over anything," Bootstrap asserts. "I still maintain that you were irresponsible and reckless in disobeying the orders from DC, but I have /never/ called nor thought of you as incompetent." He's rather adamant about that point. Offended, even. "I never would've appointed you as my second, if that weren't the case, but I suppose that's a convenient point for you to forget." The control over his tongue is definitely starting to slip. "As for Henry and Mouse, why limit it to yourself? Why not blame Poppy and the rest of the Knights who failed to keep the bandits off your back? If they had done a better job lookin' out for you, then you wouldn't have required SAR, right? And if Mouse had done a better job of flying, she wouldn't have been hit. And if the ECOs had done a better job of jamming, then neither of you would've had to worry about a scratched paint job let alone being blasted all the way to the Boatman."

By now, he's decidedly animated in his irritation, "Well, guess what, Sweet Pea. Even the /best/ frakkin' pilots get shot down sometimes, and the best frakkin' ECOs and the best frakkin' wingmates can't do a damn /thing/ to prevent that. And, /sometimes/, people die. That's just how it is. And seeing that I know, much to my regret, I add, how it feels to feel /responsible/ for that, I'm telling you that /that/ feeling of guilt is /not/ an acceptable reason for putting /others/ in harm's way."

Now well and truly exasperated, the man exclaims, "I mean, for FRAK's SAKE, Leyla, did you honestly think they weren't going to get last rites? That they were gonna be chucked out the airlock or tossed in the incinerator? That they were somehow being dishonored and disrespected because DC was trying to prevent further casualties?"

And the extra splash of syrup in the caustic soda comes in the form of, "If you're crying about a faded bruise from a slap on the cheek, you're not nearly as tough as I thought." And that both angers and disappoints him. "But I'm starting to think what's bothering you goes beyond Mouse and Henry, and getting a dressing down. So, what is it Sweet Pea?" Still upset, but making an effort to understand and make things better, if the earnest, somewhat helpless and decidedly frustrated look in his eyes is any indicator. "What's /really/ bothering you?"

No anger, no hatred, no offense. There's none of those, perhaps understandable, responses in Leyla's expression, as Trask finally lets into her… again. Not even any surprise at being called Trask's second. "You never appointed me anything, but what you said, what, months ago now, doesn't excuse what you say every day. You seem to think that the way you speak to people, the rudeness, the arrogance, the snark, the bile should be taken as 'That's just how I am. Deal with it.' But the fact of the matter is people shouldn't have to deal with it. They shouldn't have to deal with a man who makes it a point to trample over the feelings and opinions of everyone he meets. You don't have to be nice, you don't have to be everyone's best friend, but for frak's sake, at least treat people with an iota of frakkin respect. Which you don't. Clearly Command, and that includes the CAG, seem to think that because you do such a damned good job as the SL that you should be given some sort of pass on being a complete asshat. Well, I'm TIRED of giving you that pass and I'm not going to do it anymore. AND since you can't seem to get it through your damned head, I never said I felt I was responsible for their deaths, I said YOU said I was. So before you start lecturing me on guilt, get your frakkin facts straight."

Now Leyla is getting angry, but it only serves to draw her features in harder, tighter, as the Trask-esque compliments rain down, "Crying about a bruise? You colossal jackass, that was supposed to be an analogy. Though that clearly seems to have escaped you. Let me try to use smaller words. Just because six days have passed, doesn't mean that I've forgotten anything that's happened between us. Six days isn't nearly enough to make me willing to stand here and listen to you tear me down, yet again. I'm not a dog, that you can kick in the ribs when it suits your temper and expect to have coming back to lick your hand when you decide to show it any shred of affection. And I have to say, if this is your idea of trying to work things out, I can see why half the people on this ship would sooner airlock you than look at you." Leyla reaches down, to pick up her paperwork, "We're done here. If you have any orders for me, I think you know where the ready room duty board is. No doubt, day after tomorrow, Cidra will have my name put back on your squadron's roster."

"No, NO, we are /not/ done here. Not by a longshot." To prove his point, pissed off, he locks the hatch. "Get it out, Aydin. Get it right the frak out right the frak now." Not yet yelling, Trask's voice has nonetheless definitely raised. "Go on. Go on and tell me just what I've said and done to trample your oh so precious feelings, other than being more concerned with the living than the dead in a situation where Damage Control was freaking out that you were not getting out. Go on… Go on and tell me how it should've been me. That's what you said, wasn't it? That /I'm/ the one who should be in that morgue, not Henry. That somehow it's /my/ fault they're both dead. Well, frak you, Aydin. And frak you for refusing to frakking own up to the fact that you frakked up on the Deck. And whether or not I am the biggest, hemorrhoid-laden, pus-filled asshole to ever spew verbal diarrhea has NO BEARING on that." There's turmoil caused by so many potent, conflicting emotions, and he's never been good dealing with such things.

"Are you criminally insane, Kal Trask?" Even unshockable Leyla looks shocked. Moreso by Kal's comment than by the fact that he just locked her in the room, "How could you ever, ever, ever think I would say I thought you should be dead instead of someone else? How the frak could you think that of me? YES, I said it should have been you. What I meant, and what I explained to Cidra, though she apparently didn't think it was worth mentioning, was that it should have been YOU who carried Mouse out of that raptor. Not me alone, not some damned medic and their damned DC team. 'She should have been carried out of that ship by those who loved her.' THOSE were my exact words to her. But that's not really the issue, is it? It's never been the issue. The only issue you seem to give two shits about is the fact that I didn't clear a raptor when I should have. What do my 'oh so precious feelings' matter compared to that? What, did I make you the brunt of the SL jokes the next day in the office? Look at Kal Trask, one of is pilots brings back a dead body and she doesn't know she's supposed to just throw it out of the raptor like scrap wood and run out herself."

Talk about the Black Country kettle calling the Black Country pot black. He was taken aback and angry by the notion that she believed he thought so little of her, and she's now stunned that he thought her capable of such a horrible sentiment. For once, the man does not even remotely register the irony. He's too emotional. "YOU DAFT, SANCTIMONIOUS— " He's also too incensed to be able to finish formulating the denouncement. "I don't give TWO SHITS about YOUR FEELINGS when it comes to DOING what is NECESSARY to keep YOU or ANYONE ELSE ALIVE! And QUIT SPEWING all that godsdamn BULLSHIT about ANYONE being frakking TOSSED like trash. When EVER have you seen ANYONE discarded like scrap?"

In front of the hatchway, he begins to pace, fuming. "And, /please/," he adds, face scrunching up with disdain, tone turned down from exasperated outrage to simply scathing, "AS IF I'd give a frak about what a moron would say," because, in his estimation, only a moron would crack such a stupid 'joke'. "Oh, and for the record, that little scenario of yours is one of the stupidest things I have /ever/ heard, and that's no small feat."

Leyla is not, at the moment, making any attempts to get to the door, choosing to answer the increasingly more irate tirade. "You do it everyday. You're doing it right now. Pick a few more names to call me, why don't you? I'm sure you haven't actually gotten to the bottom of your likely very creative list. You want to say you had an excuse on the deck for what you did when I was still in that raptor? Fine. What was the excuse for after we were out? What's your excuse now? You're trying to keep me alive by insults alone? Is that how you operate? Why use a kind word when an ugly one can do? Why talk to someone like a damned human being, when yelling and screaming will do? This is exactly, exactly what I meant on the deck. You abuse people, you tear them down and stomp on the pieces."

"You know what? FRAK THIS. Frak it. Frak it to the Nine frakking Hells." The words come somewhat heated, but he's no longer yelling. He's simply had enough. "This is how it's gonna go, Aydin. You are gonna owe up to the fact that you suffered a /severe/ lapse in good judgment as a result of grief or some /somehow/ justified in your mind belief that Medical was gonna treat Mouse like garbage, and some belief that I don't value any of my people because I'm more concerned with the living than I am with corpses."

The pacing stops, but Kal is far from his usual blithe, facetious, insouciant, unflappable, seemingly impervious self. "And /I'm/ gonna own up to the fact that I wasn't as sensitive as I should've been to your feelings once you finally emerged. I'm gonna fully cop that my being frustrated and disappointed is no excuse for this lack of sensitivity. I'm /also/ gonna admit that it's not fair to expect that you won't ever act human despite the front you put up. In addition to that, I am going to make more of an effort to be more understanding about /feelings/…" Clearly, this is not easy for him, "And other crap like that."

The more he talks, the less riled he becomes, although he remains quite animated. "I can be an asshole. I know that. I'm working on it, but like I told Toast, don't be expecting miracles." That said, he concludes with, "You and I are then going to put this incident behind us. You are going to accept that my priorities in a potentially hazardous situation are /not/ necessarily going to be the same as yours. I am going to continue to expect you to follow orders, but I'm also going to start being more sensitive to the fact that you may also require being dealt with sensitively, from time to time. We are /both/ going to make an effort to keep that in mind and try to deal with each other in a civilized manner should a problem arise. THAT's how it's gonna go."

"I have tried and tried and tried to explain my feelings on the issue to you, but no matter what I say you're just not hearing me. So if this is how you want things to be, fine. I should have stayed focused, and gotten the raptor cleared as quickly as possible. I should not have expected that the people on the Deck would give me a few minutes to wait for you so we could take our people out together. Something we almost never get to do when we lose someone during an engagement." Leyla is still standing a good distance away from the man, still by her spot on the table and her paperwork. Out of striking distance, quite likely.

"And I'm sorry if you're not accustomed to thinking about people's 'feelings'. And if you really ever considered me your second, then it's my place to be that to you, and that means telling you things you're not going to want to hear. So here goes. The way I see it is this. You're not in a position anymore where you can do as you please whenever you please, in whatever way seems best to you. You don't have that luxury anymore. You're not just an ECO anymore, you're a squadron leader. That means you have to put your people before yourself."

"Whether or not you consider any of the air wing your family besides Jugs, Shortcut and Bunny, the wing considers themselves family. And you don't treat family with disrespect. You don't hang them out to dry. You don't have to be everyone's best friend. Hell, Khloe is a perfect example of that. She is not a nice woman, I'll be the first person to admit that. But she respects her people. Whatever else she might think about them, when she's doing her job, she sets an example. The incident with Mouse and Henry wasn't an isolated one. I've seen the way you handle people in the six months since I came onto your squadron and I finally decided enough was enough."

"Am I expecting you to turn into Bunny? Kind and sweet and one with hugs? No. But you have got to learn and accept that sometimes, much of the time, it's not what you DO that people remember, it's what you SAY. And most of the time what you say hurts." Leyla gathers up her paperwork, still facing the man, but not approaching, "Following orders has never been my problem, not when it comes to flying when I have to fly and doing my other assigned duties when I am on the rotation. I told Cidra as much. I come to work. I do the job until I can't. Any other problems I might have will come secondary to that."

Watching Trask's face, it is quite apparent that much of what Leyla says are things he doesn't want to hear, but he listens all the same, his expression an amalgam of rue, discomfort, resentment, and self-awareness. Truly, he is a jerkass woobie, as much in need of a comforting cuddle as he is a proverbial smack upside the head. "You honestly think I don't realize that my wings have been clipped?" The question is equal parts dry and incredulous.

The more she says, though, the more he takes offense. "Whoa. Back it up, Sparky," he snarks before sassing back, "(1) Frak you for even insinuating that I don't give a shit about the Wing, or that I consider them afterthoughts or whatever other crap ideas you're entertaining; (2) if you're gonna accuse me of giving a damn about only a few people, at least have the decency to include Toast in the cool kids club 'cuz I've worked with her longer than I have with anyone else in the Wing; (3) frak you, 'cuz it bears repeating; (4) you're wrong; (5) frak you for intimating that I put my wants and needs before the Squadron 'cuz, if I did, I sure as frak would not be wearing these Captain pins; (6) frak you, 'cuz it still bears repeating; and (7) I don't consider siding with DC during a hazardous situation 'hanging' my people 'out to dry'. Oh — and frak you again, for good measure."

That said, Kal continues, "For the record, you /are/ my second. Lucky you." Smirkity-smirk. "Also, your first assignment beyond your usual duties and assisting in planning an approach through Aeolus is to draft a list of all these incidents in question."

Nor does Leyla particularly wish to have to say these things. But said is said. Her head shakes as she dismisses the question. No, not dismisses it, answers it, "No, I don't think you don't know, I think you're fighting it. Trying to, perhaps, remind yourself, more than the people around you, that you're still the same man you've always been. It's not unique, no one likes to be in a cage, least of all, I expect, someone like you."

"At this point, I consider myself well and truly frakked, but that's neither here nor there. But my point stands. Whether or not you actually DO care about people, the people in the wing especially, your attitude, most of the time doesn't reflect it. It's like… sometimes you can see the action, but you need to hear the words. Or in your case, sometimes the words need to match the actions. You care about the wing, fine. But the things that come out of your mouth. It's like a caress with one hand and a slap with the other. Which do you think people remember the most? Usually, it's the slap."

And then a nod, at the new 'assignment', "I'll start pulling the comm traffic. That will be the easiest to go through." Yes, she does take it seriously. "We done, Boots? I'm exhausted, and hungry and I just want to curl up in bed and sleep."

Blackies are not the sort to air their dirty laundry. If they were, perhaps Leyla would hear all about how and why talk is cheap, that not all families are as idyllic as the Aydins apparently were, and — well, no. Blood-stained garments go beyond mere dirty laundry, and even if Bootstrap bothered to reflect upon his violent inheritance, that's one personal struggle he's not about to share. So, instead, all he says with his usual breeziness is, "You do that, but eat somethin' and get some racktime first." Unlocking and opening the hatch for the pilot to depart, that's pretty much all the dismissal she's going to get.

It's unlikely Leyla would ever push to have Trask air his laundry, though she'd have a few stories of her own about the 'idyllic Aydins'. That's not her way. And her focus. Her focus is, not on the past, but on the present. "I like to think I still remember some of my priorities." Paperwork in hand, she slips out, heading back down along the hall. The mess, and then officer country.

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