PHD #219: Impending Doom
Impending Doom
Summary: Leyla is gifted with the most adorable folder of Impending Doom, ever.
Date: 03 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: An All Expenses Paid Trip
Leyla Trask 
Ready Room - Deck 7 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #219
With the hatches at the rear of the room, the walkways on both sides slope down towards the dais at the front of the room. The stadium seating forms a partial semi-circle around the speaking podium and provides enough seats for all three hundred members of the Air Wing. The walls are adorned with the patches of each squadron aboard and their mottos stenciled in white lettering above each one. Behind the podium is a set of large LCD screens that can display any matter of material from reconnaissance to maps to gun camera footage.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

Sooner or later, everyone in the Harriers receives a summons to meet with their 'interim' Squadron Leader. Much like it had been with LTJG Bran, when LT-no-longer-JG Aydin finally got her first such memo, it didn't say much more than where (here) and when (now) to show-up for an Important Matter to discuss.

At this hour, the Ready Room is deserted, save for one Lieutenant Kal Trask, who is busy reviewing Viper flight footage. Dressed in his duty greens, as is his proclivity despite non-NCO officers having those oh-so-stylish blue uniforms they are supposed to wear, he's gotten as comfortable as anyone really can sitting in a lecture hall desk. By the look of him — and the thermos of coffee topping the desktop of the desk to his left — he's been here quite a while, typing up notes on his laptop, only taking those big brown eyes of his off the giant LCD screen at the forefront of the room when he flips though a notebook stored on the desk to his right.

Leyla, for her part, is dressed to return to the surface, when she arrives just a few minutes ahead of schedule, with a laptop, Flasher's laptop, as it happens, under her arm. The hatch is spun open, before she steps inside, scanning the room for who all might be in waiting, besides the squadron leader. Finding the room effectively empty, the laptop is switched to under her other arm, before she starts in his direction. The footage playing out over the screen gets just as much attention as the man sitting with his back to her, "Boots, you wanted to see me?"

Those Vipers on the screen are not those of the Harriers' usual dance partners, the Black Knights. No, they're the unmarked and unpainted space snakes flown by the self-styled 'Evocati' of the CEX Areion's VX-1 squadron, AKA the Spectres. "I'm, like, 99.98% certain that's what the memo said." There's nothing derisive in his tone, however. He's simply being his usual blithe, smartass self. "I saved you a seat." Meanwhile, the footage is stopped and the menu pulled up to start keying an assortment of Raptor reels. "How's your neck?" Trask idly asks.

The distance between the hatch and the seat left out for her, which, given her choice, she settles into the one left of the SL, is easily crossed, the laptop set down before she sets down, "I'm fairly certain the other .02% was covered by my ability to read." A beat, as she considers the footage, just before it switches to raptor reels, "Something doesn't sit right with me about that ship, Boots. I don't like it. Of course that doesn't preclude me from making sure to get every last useful scrap of information from them, but I don't like it." And once the reels start, she settles in, no longer even looking at the man next to her. Trask, after all, will still and always be Trask, and she's got his image burned into her retinas. The footage, however, bears full scrutiny, "I put a patch on it, don't worry. The Major didn't do too much damage."

As Sweet Pea takes a seat to his left, Bootstrap retrieves his thermos of coffee from that desktop, takes a long swig, and then sets it right back down regardless of whether or not it's now occupied. He was using it first, after all. "They're spooks, Sweet Pea, which means they're all one flavor or another of crazy," he replies about the Areion, as though that explains everything. In a way, though, it kinda does. "Every single member of that crew was hand-picked by Admiral Hauck, who may have actually provoked the Cylons into nuking us to Hades." She violated the Cassandra Convention. It's not at all difficult for the ECO to imagine a frothing at the mouth, anti-Cylon zealot who was developing l33t Cylon-killing weapons to actually break the non-aggression treaty signed at the end of the First Cylon War. "Some of 'em were chosen for merit, otherwise more of 'em would be dead. Most probably were picked out of some manner of cronyism 'cuz an operation like that sure as frak involved callin' in a lot of favors. Take all that and factor in a superiority complex…" Droll, so droll. "Yeah. I can see why they wouldn't be popular." heh.

Moving onward…

"Toast makes every effort to have a light touch when she saddles someone with more weight," is faintly smirked. "I'd say congratulations, El-Tee, but that's something that's supposed to be said when something fortunate happens." Oh, the heaviness of command, wryly relayed. Faintly, Trask turns his head to not-quite sidelong glance at the pilot. "They look good on you. Be sure to do a lot of stretching, and don't be alarmed when you start developing shoulders like a linebacker. Oh, before I forget…" As if he'd ever forget… "I have a graduation present for you." From the desk to his right, he retrieves a folder that has an oh so cutesy skull and crossbones doodled on it. It's even wearing a bow on its head, so it likely is a girl. Impending doom never looked so adorable.

"Maybe I just don't have enough experience working around people who have sticks the size of a birch tree up their rear ends. Oh wait, yeah I do." There goes a casual wave of her hand, the laptop well out of the way of Trask's accouterments, "But regardless, it makes no sense. Alright, let's say that the Admiral was doing things she ought not to have been doing, yeah? Okay, so she keeps things on the down-low, hiding her deeds and whatever from the eyes of the world. The world is gone, Boots, blown away to hell and gone. What the frak are they still hiding for? And what the frak have they been doing since Warday? Because they sure as hell haven't been doing anything useful as I can see. And why is it so damned important for them to keep all of their secrets when we're all supposed to be working together? And, not too sound too much like a certain viper pilot I know, but isn't it a little damned convenient that they just… showed up… when we needed them to? I have a mind to go over there and get some answers out of them the Taurian way."

"But, that's an amusement for another day." Thankfully, she can turn to more, well, not amusing, but less tin-foil, hat-wearing commentary, "Then I'll take a raincheck on the congratulations, and hold you to it later." Just the slightest quirk at the corners of her mouth, "And here I thought it was just extra padding in the senior officer's uniforms." And while Boots might not full on turn to look at her, she does turn to look at him, giving him one of those purposefully comedic looks, eye brow raised over one eye, the opposite eye scrunched mostly closed, "I never knew you had the ability to be so sweet, Boots." But she does finally look down at the folder, lightly tracing, but not commenting, on the super kee-yoot doodle on the folder. Rather she opens and begins to go over the information within, "I hope you know you're not getting that back." Just before she flips the folder open.

If that allusion to trees and where they're sprouting was meant to include Kal, he either didn't get the memo, or he crumpled it up and tossed it into the trash bin. "This is more like shovin' their dicks up their assholes, except their dicks really aren't that long despite how much they insist they're so huge that they can totally shove 'em up there. So, then, really, it's some other guy's shlong shoved up there, but then they get pissy when you tell 'em, 'No, your dick isn't big enough to do that.' And then they go, 'Whatever. I totally have a dick up my ass and it doesn't even smell like shit'. And then you go, 'It doesn't smell like shit 'cuz you've gone scent blind.' And then they get sulky and shut the frak up 'cuz they know you're right, but not even 2 minutes later they're whippin' it out an' wavin' it around 'cuz, — no, really — they surely have a bigger cock than you do." All of which is as casually relayed as one might talk about what happened on some TV show the night before.

To get back to Leyla's line of questioning, he says, "Uhhhhhh… they're spooks." Bootstrap to Sweet Pea: Do You Copy? Hello? "Part of their job is to make sure no one else knows what their job is." Matter-of-fact, that. "I'm surprised they're being so cooperative and forthcoming with information." This, alarmingly enough, is actually said in earnest.

As far as being sweet goes, the man scampishly relays, "My sweetness is a controlled substance. Major hoopla about it some years back. The Colonial Ministry of Health had to step in 'cos I was causin' an epidemic of diabetes and tooth decay. I was permitted to remain among the general population under the condition that I keep my sugar to myself." Why, he even bats his lashes. "And that's yours to keep." The folder, that is. Inside of which, by the by, are some AARs and an index of planetary recon flight footage to be reviewed — the first such reel already pulled-up and waiting to be played on the main LCD screen. "So, the other time someone offers congratulations is when they're being sarcastic…" Indeed, typed in big, bold letters on the very first sheet of paper is: CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR UP-COMING RECON OF PICON! The rest of the memo detailing the assignment is more subdued, although Rule #1: DON'T DIE has been emphasized.

If Leyla has any sort of adverse reaction to Trask's rolling commentary about the crew of the Areion and the size of their dicks, she's quite happy to keep it to herself, for good or ill. Well, not particularly to herself. She does offer, at the end, "This is one of the reasons I'm glad I'm a catcher. Much less chance of pulling something out of joint through the use of overzealous application." A shake of her head, "Yes, they were spooks. But what exactly is the point of doing it now? Just hide things that could be of benefit to the rest of the fleet and what's left of humanity because it used to be your job?"

"Well," she easily switches subjects, "I'll be sure to savour your sweetness while I can." And quite likely, that folder is going to end up in her bunk, as proof that cannot be denied. It might even be examined for DNA evidence. The AARs she looks over first, and then the the index, before she settles back. "I see you're giving me the honeymoon cruise. See? I knew you liked me." Not that it's not serious, not that there's not the element of welcome to the most frakked up colony in all of the 12 colonies, but, that way of thinking is heading down a bad, bad road. "Why me, Boots?" In the end, that seems like something she ought to know. "Is it because you trust me to get the job done and come back to you, or is it because I'm the most expendable of your pilots?" The majority of the pilots in the Harriers all seem to be Bootstrap's close personal friends.

All he has left to say about the Areion is, "They still are." Spooks, that is. "And until they either fulfill or abort whatever their mission is," because the ends of the worlds as they know it doesn't negate duty, "spooks they'll remain. Just like everyone else we've found, they have to come to terms with the fact they're no longer alone." The SL actually is rather sagacious. It simply tends to be overlooked when the ass part of smartass upstages the no less present smart bit.

When his motives are questioned, Trask isn't the least bit offended. In fact, an amused, little smile tugs the corners of his mouth. "Not a honeymoon cruise," he points out, humor in his voice. "Pens was most adamant about that point." Yes, the Aydin is going with the Bran. Oh, but that mirth then takes a sharper curve. Turning now to really regard the pilot, he adopts the manner of a Cheshire cat. "A promotion typically is an indication that your superiors intend for you to die the slower kind of death that'll suck the life out of you from the inside."

"As you say." It's loads and loads of clear that Leyla doesn't agree. But she isn't going to spend more of what precious time she has left in this meeting wasting it on talking about a crew that she quite clearly does not think well of. She does, offer, though, before she parts ways with the line of conversation, "There's doing your duty, and then there's stupidly doing your duty." And certainly, it's not really her primary focus.

Staying alive, that is. "It might just turn out to be the honeymoon cruise if I set him on fire before we get back." That would certainly be a honeymoon moment for Leyla. "If I didn't know any better, Boots, I'd think you were asking me out. I'll bring the straw, if you bring the milkshake." Oh, yes, the smaller pilot is well aware of precisely how Trask-mind will interpret that. "I'll do the job, Boots."

Perhaps it's because he's from Flint, but even Trask's most sincere of compliments are usually delivered with cheek despite coming from the heart. It's merely one of his idiosyncrasies that others have to realize before they can understand what he means by what he says. "Stupidly doing one's duty usually results in a quicker, life gets squeezed outta ya from the outside kinda death." Stupid people don't get promoted by him. Smart people might still miss that he's actually giving the pilot some praise. "Course, really, when you think about it, maybe it's not so dumb to go out that way. I mean, it's a totally eunuch move to wuss out and not do your damnedest to wade in all this shit and mire for as long as possible, but it is less masochistic." Insouciantly, he shrugs. Bootstrap's built Black Country tough. He won't go quietly into death even if he'll let it be known that life rather sucks. He's no quitter, so the universe and all its ills can go frak itself.

As far as the milkshake comment goes, he disingenuously quips back on-cue, "I'm lactose-intolerant." Which may or may not be true. What matters is, "If you have any questions, concerns, whatever about anything in there," a tilt of his head to the oh so adorable folder of impending doom, "you lemme know." The documentation he's put together is very thorough, but the offer still stands. "Nothin' I can really tell you that you can't glean from the footage, but whatever." Another mild shrug, then, "I'll make a point to wait until you and Pens have gone out before Bunny an' I try to not die at Caprica." If Kal Trask plays favorites and spares certain people suicide missions, he has a seriously frakked-up way of showing it, for Caprica is reported to be the biggest shitstorm of Cylon activity in all of the Twelve Colonies, and he and Evandreus are the ones slated to go.

"It's not masochistic to want to live. Certainly not in the face of everything in the universe that seems intent on impressing on you just how much you need to just die already. For some, it's easier than others. Living that is, than dying. You lose something, a home, a relative, a loved one, and you let the world crash down around you, dead weight to be washed out with the waste water. There's more virtue in overcoming adversity than in avoiding it to begin with."

"That's too bad," about the lactose-intolerant. A nod though, as she continues back through the paperwork, a finger tracing the marked highlights of the AARs, "So we jump in, say… long, but not super long distance, power down to nearly a drift, record any cylon presence running as many reels as we can, and get the best scan of the surface we can until we're done or we need to jump out?"

Some things go without saying, but she says it regardless, "You won't die, either of you."

The matter of masochism is left untouched, save perhaps for something in those damnably emotive eyes of his that verges on rueful skepticism. Kal Trask may not think all that highly of being alive and all that entails, but it's his life, and he'll be damned before he lives it on anyone else's terms. All that is simply said, however, is, "Anything worth anything is worth fighting for." Even if it's only a matter of principle, which it often is for him. For a moment, the pensiveness lingers, then is shoved aside in a typically Taurian manner.

"Yeah," he replies about procedure. "Pens has been briefed. Long-distance jump, passive DRADIS only, stay under the radar, yadda yadda. Powering down isn't advised but I doubt you'll even have a chance to get that far. Picon was one of the hardest hit and recon from March 1st had the place drowning in Colonial fleet debris and swarms of basestars. Seeing how Virgon was still recently infested, we're bankin' that not much has changed. Still need to have a look-see. You an' Bran may lack the experience for this kind of thing, but so does most of the squadron. You two at least have other training and skills, and an established rapport, to compensate as much as anything can."

As for not dying, the SL wryly smirks, "Buns an' I have a good track record. Here's hopin' the streak doesn't get broken." Indeed, the seriously insane recons of Virgon and Leonis, for example, were their doing. They almost got killed more than once, too, but managed to GTFO with a lot of useful intel. Something that definitely warrants bragging rights, and yet there is no bragging.

"Even when no one seems to think it's worth anything." That's said without looking up from the reports, which she's pouring over before she shifts her eyes, not to the man beside her, but to the screen now playing through the footage of each AAR mission in sequence. "Sounds like a cool walk in a summer rain." She isn't going to disagree with Trask, though, "The debris field at least should be right up our alley. We spent a number of years learning how to move in them." And a glance over, and a nod, at Trask's estimation of his odds or whatnot, with Bunny, "I'm going to hold you to that too." But there's a finality in her tone, or perhaps her voice, "How long do I have to look over the tapes?"

In the amused way of a biting comedy, or perhaps self-deprecation, Trask remarks, "All that matters is what the person who's fighting for it thinks." And that's that. "We're hopin' there's still debris." He doesn't bother explaining why, as he feels that is self-evident. "Unlike what you're probably used to, some of this junk will actually explode." The wry smirk resurfaces at that and remains when he relays, "I'll be sure to let Bun-Bun know." That they are being held to Not Dying. Although, really, that latter comment isn't mocking. It's the default flippancy of someone uncomfortable with emotionality, particularly when it's not a sentiment that is attacking his person. It quickly dissolves. "As much time as you need before you ship out. This takes priority over everything other than CAP. Bunny will have the droopiest whiskers if his Peapod were to be smooshed, and we simply cannot allow that to happen." So, remember: DO NOT DIE.

"Watch for explosions, take lots of pictures, try not to die. It'll be like we're back on Sagittaron." And how fondly she remembers that little slice of heaven. But whatever her humour, whatever the verbal she's been tossing back and forth with the squadron leader, she can be serious about one thing. "I'll do my best to return flavourful and full of vitamin-enriched goodness, Boots." As any good legume should. "If you don't mind, I'll get started right away. I think there's a free space down in the auditorium I can use." Trask, after all, is already at work in the Ready Room. "If I may," she offers as she gets to her feet.

"Minus the SSLF," is sardonically quipped, but he's not going to even go down that road. Snagging his thermos with his left hand and collecting the other folders (none of which have any doodles on them, for the record) with his right, Bootstrap gets up on his boots. "You could," go use the auditorium, "but that'd be dumb seein' how it's all cued up and ready to go." The man is oddly considerate about certain things. Also, Leyla is not dumb, which means she is to stay put. "Later, legume," is the jaunty farewell, and off he goes.

Impending Doom Never Looked So Adorable
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