PHD #252: If Not That...
If Not That…
Summary: …then what? Trask demands to know what is what. Sawyer answers and evades.
Date: 05 Nov 2041 AE
Related Logs: Inferences and Insinuations (Hammockgate); also referenced are Due Process (Sawyer is attacked in the News Room), Men and Machines (Cidra moves in), & Reporter in Distress (Sawyer drops out of politics)
Sawyer Trask 
News Room - Deck 3 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #252
This room isn't huge by any means, but it does have all the updated equipment and a small news staff that runs the area.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

The chronometer on the wall is just barely past marking the end of the day shift. It's really not enough to warrant the deserted nature of the news room, but maybe Sawyer's just bad at keeping company. Once more, the blonde is left in the room to her own devices, and those devices currently include her taking down her relatively new wallpaper of a civilian organizational chart. Carefully she peels each hexagonal paper tile off the bulkhead, folding the tape over the back to secure it to itself and then adding it to the pile. Sawyer is disassembling all her work of the past month or so into one tidy little bundle.

o/~ The wheel on the hatch goes 'round and round… 'round and 'round… 'round and 'round. The wheel on the hatch goes 'round and round… o/~

Except it is not someone with media credentials who's arriving at this hour. Instead, it is Bootstrap who waltzes right on in. Unceremoniously, the door is pushed closed behind him and left unlocked. A cursory scan of the News Room follows, assessing the terrain — and potential dangers — like someone with military training should. That concluded, it is without a word that he resumes his charted course for the opaque revolving door that leads to the dark room, for said dark room is the target of reconnaissance.

Sawyer's not exactly jumpy anymore as enough time has passed since her little run in with the anti-cylon activist that she's not so on edge at random entrances. When it is Trask, however, it has her looking up with a sharp quirk of her eyebrow. "I'd ask if I could help you, but you're clearly quite capable of helping yourself." Her head swivels to keep him in her line of vision, but there is no move to stop him at the entrance to the dark room. She simply waits until he decides to inform her as to why he's there. Hopefully, no more attempts to ruin her photography.

Once he enters, he'll see a rather standard dark room, with long work tables around the perimeter with tubs of liquid on their surface, jugs of chemicals stored below, and clotheslines of developed photographs that have long since dried and merely haven't been removed. And yes, there's a cot in there.

Lieutenant Kal Trask, assault squadron ECO and 'interim' commanding officer of the VAQ-141, has more hours and more missions clocked than any other member of Carrier Fighter Wing ONE FOUR when it comes to reconning enemy territory. True enough, that has pertained to Cylon-occupied space, but he probably could've successfully evaded Sawyer Averies. Maybe. It proves to be one of those great hypothetical battles like, say, Pirate vs Ninja, for the journalist does not seek to deter the SL.

It is not long that Trask is in the dark room. In fact, the revolving doorway doesn't stop, much as if he immediately found what he was looking for the moment door revolved enough to show the room and its contents, and he just kept walking until the entrance became the exit. "How long has that been in there?" There is a tick of annoyance in his tone, as if the snark is rarin' to go.

Sawyer turns away from him to go back to her disassembly project, plucking a paper off the wall with a little more vigor this time. "The dark room has existed since the inception of this ship. Or rather the inception of the news room of this ship. Being such a jack of all trades, I'm sure you could have gotten a hold of the schematics for it, or simply asked me for a tour. No one really uses it anymore but me. Age of digital and all that."

'Ha, ha,' is the deadpan look upon his face. Well-played, though, even if he's not amused. She damn well knows he's not talking about the dark room itself. Eyes a tad narrowed, one corner of his mouth wryly twisted, and scarcely two beats of pause before he is again revolving into the dark room. This time, however, it isn't one of those comedic in-out rotations. This time, he's in there just long enough to fold-up the cot, heft it, and bring it back to the main room, pointedly setting it down. "This," he drily calls bullshit, "isn't in the blueprints." An Aerospace Engineer with previous experience aboard a battlestar would know. "So, this," the cot is nudged by one of his steel-toed boots, "how long has it been in use?" In here, in there — the unspoken elaboration is self-evident in Trask's tone.

Sawyer slaps that piece of paper down on top of the stack, leaving her hand splayed atop it as she leans all cock-eyed as she looks flatly back to him. "I'm not sure of the particular manufacture date of that model, but judging by the state of the mattress, I'd say it was in circulation for upwards of a decade before it came into my possession. Assuming by your ire, and the fact that you took it upon yourself to drag it all out here to make some sort of point, I'm going to go ahead and say you only care about its recent application. In which case, roughly two months. Whenever it was that I decided to stop sleeping in berthings. So do you? Have a point that is?"

"Solder. Oxy-Ace," he starts listing off supplies used to install the mulberry hued hammock hanging in the corner that gives clear line-of-sight of the main hatch, "wasted, basically." Which is part of his ire, for he is a painfully practical man. "Why?" Faintly, Kal's head shakes in a manner indicative of someone who truly does not grasp the blonde's reasoning. "Why have me expend the time, energy, and material resources on an endeavor that wasn't even necessary?" Whatever he may be thinking or feeling isn't apparent, if only because it's so many frequencies going at once that white noise results — unmistakable in its presence but all the same inscrutable by its very nature of origin.

"Because you thought you were doing something nice for me because I wasn't getting a good night's sleep. Now there are two beds in here instead of one, which allowed me the capacity to house your CAG in her particular time of need. That stated, I had every intention of returning the cot to Supply for redistribution down to the remaining civilian populous. Thus, in effect, nothing is wasted. Now are you to tell me that because I had previous sleeping arrangements, that negates your good intentions? Or are you actually just butt-hurt because you didn't get to save the damsel in distress from neck and back pain due to sleeping at her desk?" Sawyer neatly and calmly folds her arms over her chest. "And for the record: you didn't ask. You just came in and started welding."

"Really?" There's no need to raise his voice or be overt in his snark, for Trask has a knack for making a subdued question-cum-statement biting in its understatedness. Never mind that the reporter isn't incorrect, per se, but when does such a thing stop the likes of him from deflecting and twisting everything right back to its source? "And not once before I struck the torch did you think that saying 'hey, Kal, I have a cot in back — thanks, but this is not necessary' might be a good idea?" Because, really, that would've done the trick in getting him to cease and desist. Unconsciously, he mirrors the blonde's body language, folding his own arms in front of his own chest, albeit more snidely than Sawyer has.

"And deny you the gratification of doing a good deed and earning your weld-master merit badge? Never." Sawyer's not adverse to using a little snark of her own, though he surely can pull of snide far easier than her. "While we are on the subject of whys, why don't you go ahead and answer me the riddle as to why /you/ used your time, energy and materials to hang a hammock you hand-foraged off the planet instead of just requisitioning me a cot?" Like he, she too nudges the folded up portable furniture, but being in heels requires she does so with a bit less panache as her pumps aren't steel toed.

Quick on the volley, the man drily notes, "I earned that badge more than ten years ago." As for her other question, he relays, "Maybe because I figured all those cots were already in use?" They should've been, all things considered. "And setting up a hammock there would be problematic?" Also true, logistically and socially speaking. Who really needs people to be fighting over a hammock? The reply turns more biting and his eyes sharpen with his final barb, though, when he flat-out says, "I assure you, though, it's not because I had any intention or desire to spoon." That's right: spoon. The very exact word the journalist used with Cidra, spoken with just the right amount of acerbity to suggest the rest of what was said was also exactly relayed. Seems that Bootstrap has finally determined what the frak Sawyer was getting at the other day in the gym.

"I would never dare to assume you had any intention or desire, Lieutenant." Sawyer was a little buzzed in more ways than one when it came to that evening and that particular conversation with the CAG, but something is raising her ire, so she might as well focus on that. "Thank you, however, for magnanimously striking those two possibilities from the table. However, if we're just going to get answers by the process of elimination may I suggest we at least sit down? This could take a while, and after a while joint and muscle fatigue will set in and I'd hate for you misinterpret a faint for me swooning at your feet."

"Content with wishful thinking, huh?" Yeah, that's one bit he's not about to stop chomping on, no matter how she tries to defend herself. "And no worries about that, Scoop," referring to misinterpreting a faint, "I'm well-aware that you like being on your backside, so we can just skip all this propriety crap. No need for ruses and 'explanations'." Air quotes included, for he is officially in Jerkass Mode. More to the point, instead of sitting, he uncrosses his arms and advances until he's right on the verge of annexing her Personal Space, dangling his force of presence right over the precipice. Close enough that she could smell sweat and the remnants of cigarette smoke emanating from him, but not so close that he is unable to maintain an invasive level of eye contact. "Let's just make this easier, though." Who knew so much intensity thrummed beneath a typically facetious surface? "How about you outright tell me just what the frak you want from me?" The question-cum-command is pitched low, with the faintest of growls in his throat to suggest that, somehow, whatever light-hearted banter they may have shared in the past has culminated in a serious stand-off.

"I don't know what it is with you and my backside…" Sawyer's about to say more, but her words are cut off abruptly when he invades her personal bubble, needing to cant her head back just a titch to retain that eye contact. "No." She succinctly denies him the clarification of her intents and purposes with one single word. His proximity is doing more to unnerve her than his words, as she takes a half step backwards only to find the wall proving to be an impossible obstruction to by-pass. How proverbial. "I don't want anything from you. This isn't about sex, or some foolish incantation of love. If you're so intent to put a definition on things, then don't. Rules and parameters don't work for people like me. So stuff it."

"The hell you don't," he retorts, those emotive brown eyes of his are narrowed with suspicion but no less intent in their regard. No, she wants something from him. There is nothing the woman can say to convince him otherwise, at this point. Kal simply isn't sure what her angle is, and it unnerves him. He likes to know just what he's going up against, although he'll blindly fight, if need be.

One thing for certain is that he's not looking for a physical confrontation. Even through his irritation and discomfiture, Trask unconsciously recognizes the signs of Sawyer feeling intimidated, and that prompts him to unthinkingly ease up, somewhat. Not a full on retreat, by any stretch, but just enough to convey that he is no immediate threat. Just enough to maintain the dominant position without being menacing. "So, if not that," if not sex or love, "then what? Hmm?" How he scrutinizes her face, as if searching for confirmations of some kind. "What is it that works for a person like you?" Spoken as if she might somehow get some perverse pleasure from provoking him.

"Nothing!" Sawyer's voice pitches upwards for the first real time this evening, sounding both pinched and panicked and annoyed at being so. "Nothing /works/ for me, otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation. All I know is that if it gets around to /this/ conversation, we're at the end of whatever it was in the first place. So here," the journalist thrusts out her hand, "it was great to have met you. I'd like to say we had good times, but beyond the shadow puppets and the initial hammock incident, and the witty banter, and the occasional glimpses of getting to see you naked in the berthings…" Okay, so there was more on the list than she intended, and her brows furrow with the realization. "…the rest was pretty much shit."

Whatever he makes of her proclamation (confession?) is not at all evident behind the brooding distrust he cannot at all conceal. For a heavy moment, Bootstrap just stares at her, a look that occasionally flickers into a glare. Brown eyes dart to the offered hand, but nothing in his own bearing alters. Wordlessly, that narrowed gaze once more lifts to scrutinize Sawyer's face for a hard three seconds before he turns to depart for the main hatch, the tension coiling in his shoulders receiving scarce release with the vexed shaking of his head.

"Oh, yeah. Yeah, thanks for that." As Trask steps away, Sawyer flicks her hand, the back of it catching her stack of neatly organized papers, sending them in an angry flurry of white hexagonal snow flakes that scatter and flutter to the floor. "I just /love/ when they can't even look me in the eye." He's headed to the hatch, so the only place she can retreat to is the dark room, hand closing on the cot and with a grunt, she struggles to tote it back to the little room.

<FS3> Trask rolls Social: Bad Failure.

For once, unlike the time he was welding, he actually hears Sawyer's commentary. Were he not already agitated, irritated, and overall on edge, he'd simply part with a pithy, snarky comment. As it stands, what is said sets him off and it does not take long at all for him to abruptly turn on his heel and close the distance to the blonde struggling with the cot. Strong hands seek to seize her by the shoulders and spin her around with a careless forcefulness. "I looked you in the eyes," he sneers with something that surpasses mere defensiveness over the intimation that he is somehow spineless or a coward, although that is also at work. Not lessening his grip, he lowly growls in no uncertain terms and with unwavering eye contact, "I didn't like what I saw. I don't like what I'm seeing now. It's not a matter of can't." No, it's all about DOES NOT WANT.

Sawyer isn't afraid of the contact, she doesn't flinch this time or make any movement to disengage his hands from her shoulders. Funny how it's the second time this week someone close to her doesn't like what they see when it comes to Averies herself. "Do you know what I find attractive about you, Kal? You're not afraid of the truth, no matter how unfavorable or how unseemly that might be. You'll lay it out there, even if it means that makes others look at you in a poor light. In my profession, do you know how rare that is? I've spent my whole life fighting for the truth to make it to the light of day." The reporter is calm again, even with the seething man locked onto her with both hand and gaze. "And yet that's precisely what terrifies me about you: hearing that rejection in your voice. Knowing it's aimed at me."

Derisively, he snorts, zeroing in on the /why/ she finds him attractive and not the fact that she evidently /does/ find him attractive. That latter part takes a backseat to a moment of misanthropy. "You /do/ realize how idiotic that is, right?" That he would care about the negative opinions of people he doesn't respect. After all, those who have managed to understand him as much as he probably can be understood are the kind of people who will appreciate his opinions, even if they may loathe the delivery. Even so, the return query is much more akin to his typical sardonicism than the recent serving of caustic with foamy anger ganache. Case in point: his grip on Sawyer's shoulders eases. His choice of words, however, does not. "Stop making yourself a target, then." Mister Sensitivity, he is not.

"Easier said than done, but your concern for my well being is noted." Sawyer breaks eye contact with him, her head canting so she can look at his fingers curled into her bicep. Gently, her own fingers lay over his and start to pull his hand away. "Now let's clear up some things. One, at the time of the gym apology I was campaigning to be a public figure, which means I was attempting to behave in public in a manner which was socially acceptable. Which meant not making inappropriate comments to a member of the opposite sex in public, or as I phrased it at the time, mixed company. In my fumbled attempt to convey that to you, a rumor was started regarding myself and Major Hahn. Rather counterproductive to my original goal. I've since stepped down as such a member of society, so it's rather moot. Second, the spooning comment to which I believe you were alluding to, I made to Cidra as a joke. I gave her options to where she could sleep, I told her if she chose the hammock she might deal with you coming in and spooning, which was in reference to you previously napping in said hammock. Not, and I'll repeat, not a wish nor want nor assumption nor wet dream for you to come and do said activity with me."

It's only when Sawyer's hands are upon his own in an attempt to remove his hands from her shoulders that Trask realizes that he's still holding said shoulders. Smoothly, he complies and ceases to un-occupy Averies' personal space, instead opting to commandeer with his ass one of the many non-utilized desk tops. "Don't tell me you quit 'cuz some yahoos thought you were having some sexy fun times with the CAG." The disappointment in his voice poised to strike. "Anyway, frak 'em." That's his opinion of social acceptability. "You're not harmin' anyone." So, really: frak 'em. Funny how someone so incredibly complex can also be so uncomplicated.

As for Hammockgate, Kal quietly listens, not seeming entirely convinced, if the wry curving of his mouth is indicative of anything. For the time being, though, he leaves it be and simply asks, "Anything else you wanna come clean about?" Beat. "I mean, clear-up?"

Fold. Tuck. Sawyer's arms once more cross neatly over her chest again, weight displaced to one hip. "I did not, in fact, quit because of the singularity of a rumor. I chose to relinquish my political aspirations because I realized I did not want to live in a world where I couldn't tell some asshat to frak off in public. I'm more suited digging up the truth than sugar coating it and tying it up with a nice pretty bow to make everyone happy. I'll continue working with both division of the military and civilians as needed, but I'm not going to become something I'm not. So yes, frak 'em. And I'm failing to come up with a number three, so no, I'm quite through coming clean or clearing up."

The explanation about discarded political aspirations appears to appease Bootstrap. As for a potential item number three, it could either be his smartass mouth, a genuine disbelief, or a combination of the two and possible other factors, but he simply quips, "Well, be sure to let me know should something else come to mind." That said, he disembarks from the desk and moves to retrieve the cot that had clattered to the floor mere moments ago, looking as though he's intending to return it where he found it.

Sawyer more or less just flops into her office chair after a few steps to the side, the journalist becoming rather boneless and deflated, which isn't very lady-like in a skirt. At least her knees are together, and it's just her feet splayed to the side. "If you're going to do the grunt work, be a dear and get rid of the thing all together. I wouldn't want to keep you up at night, wondering if I actually got rid of it or I was going to keep it as some great ploy to frak you over. Or frak you. I'm not sure which we decided on."

"Screw that," Trask says, aborting the mission and instead setting the folded cot against a different desk. "I'm not your lackey. You want it elsewhere, get someone whose job it is to collect this thing to come collect this thing." Flippant as ever. As for the frakking matter, he could come up with a witty reply. Instead, he opts for crass. "Hike up your skirt and bend over that desk and we can decide that once and for all." There's just enough of a challenge in the way he looks at the blonde that his motivations and intentions for saying such are unclear.

Sawyer looks at him for a long moment, then toes off one shoe so it's no longer cupping her heel. Thusly freed, she kicks it in Kal's vague direction. "Tell you what, come back some evening when you don't simultaneously treat me as a piece of trash stuck to your shoe /and/ a cheap-ass slut and we'll revisit that proposition. As for now? Get the frak out of my office." The second shoe follows the first.

A good ECO knows when to retreat from hostile space. As far as Kal is concerned, this has been a successful recon mission. Unanswered questions remain, but that's an exploratory excursion for another day. All the same, he smirks in response to Sawyer's response, not pressing the issue further. She's felt threatened more than enough for today and, in his perverse way, he's courteous about vulnerability… unless, of course, he is feeling likewise threatened, which is not the case at this moment in time. Making for the hatch, he quips, "Stop acting like a piece of refuse, then." Yes, he said refuse, as in the noun. The wheel is spun and the door opened. "Cheap-ass, though…" is remarked with a glance over his shoulder, as he steps through the hatchway, "that I'm pretty sure you are not."

Sawyer doesn't further engage with Lieutenant Trask, eyes averted to some spot on the wall. She's perfectly quiet during the opening and closing of the hatch. Never let them see you cry. At least /that/ lesson she'll take away from her brief stint as a politician.

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