PHD #227: Independence, Limited
Independence, Limited
Summary: Marko and Leyla come out fighting(civilly), as they discuss the future of the civilians in the fleet.
Date: 11 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: None really specifically, but pretty much any log referencing the freighter, the civilian government, Aerilon, Sagittaron, Marko and Leyla's raptor pairing and/or the state of the fleet generally.
Leyla Marko 
Behind the two hangar decks, the Cerberus' Galley is the largest room on the ship. Nearly half the size of a football field, the eating area is made up of long lines of stainless steel tables that can be folded up and placed against the wall for larger events. Individual seats are the standard military issue, boring and grey with lowest-bidder padding. The line for food stretches across one of the shorter sides of the room while the kitchen behind works nearly twenty-four hours a day to produce either full meals or overnight snacks and coffee for the late shifts.
Post-Holocaust Day: #227

Marko sits at a corner table, well away from most of the other diners, peering at a stack of papers with a puzzled, somewhat alarmed look on his face as he mechanically shovels his canned slop into his mouth without bothering to look at it.

Leyla, for her part, is having none of the canned slop. No, she's having some of the reconstituted slop. And seems on her way over towards where her ECO is sitting off to himself, her own tray in hand. The tray is set down first, by way of introduction, before she looks to the man sitting alone at his table, "Flasher."

Marko doesn't start, he nearly jumps out of his seat in surprise when Leyla appears. "Oh, hey Sweet Pea." he says, giving an embarrassed little smile as he hastily gathers up his notes and closes the folder. "How's it going?" he asks, gesturing to the seat opposite his.

There's more than a bit of surprise, at the haste with which Marko turns to covering up any trace of what he might have been working on, and the pilot goes to pick back up her tray. "Yeah, okay, clearly you're working on something. I'll catch you later then." Is there just a trace of upset there? Quite possibly. After all, Marko's her ECO, supposed to be her wingmate, her bestest buddy. Okay, well, not quite, but the bond between pilot and ECO is usually quite airtight. "Sorry about that," as she starts off towards another empty table.

"Hey, wait a second." Marko calls. "C'mon, don't be like that." he says. "Sheesh, why is everybody on this boat so touchy these days?" he wonders aloud, shaking his head. "I didn't tell you to go away, did I? I'm sorry, you just startled me some and I didn't wanna be distracted while we were talking." he adds simply.

"I'm not being touchy, I'm trying to respect your space. And you were clearly busy." But Leyla does stop, turning back, tray still in hand, "I do know you have a life outside of flying with me, you know." Yes, there's definitely some vague edginess in the pilot's attitude, but like most things about her, it seems blunted, diffused.

"And whatever it was I was working on can clearly wait." Marko replies with a smile. "C'mon, take a load off and enjoy some of our fabulous cuisine." he smirks. "I see you went for the toast and hash." he comments. "A brave choice." he chuckles.

"I love processed meat." A few steps carry her back to the table, and she settles into the chair opposite Marko, "As you probably noticed." Yes, she does love her jerky, her chipped beef, her beefy MREs and spam. If it's FEAT(short for Fake Meat, of course), Leyla is there. "Looks like you had the navy bean…is that meant to be soup?"

"Heh, I think that was the original intent, yes." Marko chuckles, hoisting a spoonful and taking a bite. "But, it's food, and it's got protein and vitamins in it, taste is optional." he says. "I like the toast and hash too," he notes. "Reminds me of when my mom would come home from temple and make dinner." he explains. "Of course, she was completely blown out of her socks on Chamala." he adds.."So you can imagine the results."

"You know, it seems like I am the only person around here who's never tried that stuff. It's like everyone's got a story about it." A lift of her shoulders into a shrug. It's common knowledge that aside from smoking, Leyla doesn't indulge in any other vices, "it looks a bit custardy though, I'm sure it would go well on toast." To make it possible to test, Leyla offers one of her toast points.

"Well, let's find out." Marko replies, chuckling and taking the offered bit of bread. "Thank you." he says, swiping up a little and taking an experimental nibble. "Not half bad." he comments after chewing and swallowing. "Doesn't _taste_ any better, though." he smirks. "Heh, I've tried it a few times, but after Mom? Nah, I never got that into it. Besides, Ambrosia's cheaper."

Leyla happily tucks into her FEAT and toast, actually seeming to enjoy the taste, salty and meaty without approaching anything that could be construed as a meat flavour, "Salt." But that's her cureall for everything, the same way that some people love sweet, "I like my brain just the way it is. Under my control. Body too."

"Heh, yeah, I'm pretty much the same way most of the time." Marko nods. "But you do need to unwind every now and then." he shrugs. "You know, that's got me thinking. The salt thing, I mean. We've got a finite supply of the stuff." he comments. "And it's kind of important for human life."

"Sure, but you don't need to lose control of yourself to unwind. Just takes a bit of creativity." Tuck, tuck, tuck, Leyla's eating as if it were the best meal she's ever had, "Sure. But I think we can scavenge it like we've done most everything else. And we've got to have quite a supply down in storage. Grocery stores, warehouse stores, places like that. Maybe even a processing plant near one of the salt mines."

"Heh, well, there's a big difference between having a few drinks and getting completely splashed." Marko points out, shrugging a little. "But, to each their own." he concludes. "Yeah, there is that." he says. "Just something else to think about, really. Among the many, many other things." he sighs, frowning for a moment before looking around him to see if anyone's within earshot. "Okay, there's something I gotta get off my chest." he begins, sounding guilty.

"Too many things to think about. Enough to keep you from every sleeping again." Which is probably one of the reasons it's a good thing Leyla's bunk in the berthings is off in no-man's land. Her fork pauses mid-motion, at Marko's sudden furtiveness, coming as it does after his initial claim that he wasn't being furtive at all, "If this has something to do with the rumours I've heard about a still being brought onto the ship, I'm not going to be the one to turn you in."

"A still?" Marko asks, cocking his head curiously for a moment. "No…no…this is more important. How good are you at keeping secrets?" he asks simply, keeping his voice carefully soft.

"Came up from Aerilon, or so I heard." But since that's clearly not the reason for Marko's sudden squirrelyness, Leyla sets it aside, "I've never divulged a secret that was entrusted to me." And as she's never lied to the ECO in all the time she's known him, well, he can make his own decision about that.

"Good." Marko replies, nodding a little before leaning forward and gesturing for her to do the same. "I've been handed a research project by the brass. It's classified, and by 'classified', I mean, just telling you about it could get me a one-way trip out of the airlock." he says simply. "I won't burden you with the details." he says, stressing the word 'burden'. "But it's deadly important. So if , now and again, you see me acting screwy, now you know why." he explains. "Now…laugh and slap my cheek playfully like I just told you a really dirty joke."

Leyla just gives the man a look. "I am not slapping your cheek." But as he isn't going to be anymore forthcoming, she can at least play the part as best she can. So there is a slap, but it's to his shoulder, a sort of 'oh, go on with you,' gesture, and an appropriate laugh follows. It's honestly frightening, at times, how well Leyla can 'play a part', as if she spends most of her life doing it, before she settles back in to her meal. "You are so not winning the talent show."

"Hey! That joke had water squirting outta half the noses in the repair bay." Marko protests with a chuckle. It seems that Leyla's not the only one who's good at playing it cool. "Though, if I were to tell it at the talent show, Cidra'd probably shoot me out of a torpedo tube." he giggles.

"Where any of them above the age of twelve? That's what I want to know." It's not long before Leyla's finished with her meal, and the plate's set aside, "Just as long as you leave me your lucky pants, I won't mind. I'll tuck them into storage next to the emergency blankets." That done, she rises from her seat, "Going to get some more coffee, you want anything before I come back?"

"I could do with a bug juice refill." Marko says, holding up his mug as he chuckles. "No, but they are knuckle-draggers, so…you can do the math on that one." he smirks.

Leyla accepts the mug, setting it on her tray as she carries everything back out into the main galley. Tray and the rest are sent towards the dishwasher, before she carries the two mugs over to the drinks station. Juice for Marko, with a decided wrinkle of her nose. And another coffee for her, and then she's on her way back, "Well, yes, that's true. It is a bit like junior high down there."

Marko notes the nose wrinkle at his bug juice and laughs softly as she returns. "If you knew how many times those grounds have been reused, you wouldn't be so judgmental." he grins as he accepts his mug with a nod of thanks. "Yeah, but they're good people." he smiles. "Tough as nails, too. Gotta be, to keep up with our deployment rates."

"At least my coffee used to be something natural. I'm pretty sure yours is all lab grown." But, yes, to each their own, as she settles in, "It's a hard life down there. At the end of the day you're holding the lives of every single member of the air wing that launches out of this ship in your hands. And that's a heavy burden. I can't begrudge them some cheap humour to help alleviate the stress of it all."

"Yeah, besides, some of it's damned funny." Marko chuckles. "So how've you been? Haven't seen much of you outside of CAP and the ceremony last night." he says. "That was very nice." he smiles happily. "Those guys did an amazing job, getting full quals with a training program that was mostly made up as it went."

"I haven't been doing much, outside of CAPs and going to what was left of the ceremony last night, once I got done going over Bertha. Been doing some modeling," this said with a tip of her head, likely to indicate she means the sort of modeling Marko would be interested in, "but nothing much else of any importance." But as for the nuggets-no-longer, "If one of them makes it back from their first encounter with a Cylon without a piece of their body blown off, I'll be happier about it. Flying is the easy part. Getting over the worst, most mind-numbing fear you'll ever get slapped in the face with is entirely another."

"Yeah, no kidding." Marko replies, nodding soberly. "Still think the only reason I didn't crap myself on Warday was 'cause I was so scared, you couldn't have rammed a nail up my butt with a sledgehammer." he snerks. "Whatcha workin' on?" he asks, cocking his head a smiling a little.

"Thankfully, you've gotten over that. I couldn't handle someone that uptight in my backseat." It's flippant, but honest. Marko wells knows the pilot's style, and that one of the reasons he works so well with her, is because he can change things up at a moment's notice, "Just a few things with that program you leant me." And no, she isn't going to say anymore about that, in the middle of the galley.

"Ah, that one." Marko replies, smiling and nodding. "You'll have to show me sometime soon." he says. "Trask isn't breathing down my neck about it _yet_." he says. "But I got a feeling that won't last long." he sighs. "Poor Raine….she's barely seen me since our wedding."

"Well, he seems to be picking up steam as he goes along, as we start getting through these recons. I'm still crunching the numbers on the data we brought back from Picon. But that's not going to last long either." A nod, as she considers the problem, "Perhaps you out to see about moving into her berthing. Or do they have berthings for married people? Certainly we've lost enough crew, at this point, that there's some free berthings spaces that are empty." Hell, it's why the Harriers and the Knights share a berthing as it is. There aren't enough of them separately to warrant them having separate berths anymore.

Marko shrugs a little. "Talked about it a little with Cidra before we got married." Marko replies. "She was kind of hard to read on the subject. Besides, she's an officer with the Marines, moving her to my berth could cause friction for her with them and the other Air Wing guys. And my moving to hers could make waves vice-versa." he explains simply. "We knew what we were getting into, Sweet Pea." he says. "It won't be easy, especially not at first, but we'll get past it."

"Hence why I suggested the possibility of married berthings. A ship this large should have them already in place. I know a few of the ships have them. Less people in the berthings, larger bunks to accommodate two people, rather than one. It's not as if this is the first time a married couple has served on the same ship. The ship should have some sort of accommodation already in place." But as Marko seems to be getting testy himself, she doesn't bother continuing. Logic isn't always the best solution…for other people. "Whatever you decide of course. It's not really my business." And aside from when its absolutely necessary, the pilot doesn't normally get involved in her ECO's personal life.

"Oh, no, I'm with you, but with all of the refugees on board, not to mention QUODEL members that still haven't gotten it into their heads that they're days of being VIPs are over…." Marko's voice trails off into another shrug. "We just don't want to cause trouble." he says simply. "But I do appreciate your concern." he says, sincerely.

"Well, as soon as we get the civilians moved off of the ship and onto the freighter, that's not going to be an issue. Not that it's much of an issue now. The civilians aren't being housed in the berthings, and with good reason. Which reminds me, we've got the go ahead to survey the spaceport we reconned the last time we were out. Engineering liked the looks of the readings we sent back. The said some of the wreckage looks large enough and intact enough that we might be able to find the engine we need. Of course, it's going to be a super bitch to lift the engine and transport it back to the freighter, but they said everything else is ready to go-ish. Sublights were up and running as of yesterday."

"We did?" Marko asks, grinning from ear-to-ear. "That's great!" he says, holding up his cup of bug juice for a toast. "Here's hoping we get what we need." he proposes. "Glad to hear they've been able to rehab the old girl. She looked roughly spaceworthy even on the ground." he notes. "This could be a big step forward for us, ya know."

A toast is indeed in order, and Leyla's coffee mug clanks, rather unceremoniously against Marko's juice mug. "That's exactly what I said. We've got to get things squared away, whatever the cost to the ship." A nod, though, at the comment, "She was holding up pretty well, for being turned into some farmer's barn. But yes, s big step forward. More civilized, at any rate."

"Wonder what the plans are about defensive measures?" Marko asks, frowning thoughtfully. "As wonderful as it would be to give the civvies their own ship, you can't dismiss the fact that it would be one big target for the Toasters."

"I imagine they'll have to have Marines on the ship providing security for the civilians, and probably pull military to crew the ship, man the engine room and flight controls. I don't think that those would, or should be handed over to the civilians. That's just asking for a mutiny. As for flying, I would say set them in the center with the military ships flying a protective formation around them. It's not as secure as having them here, but they can't live here. So we have to do what we can to give them their own space. But that doesn't mean it won't be a nightmare as is."

"You should write that up and send it to Trask and Cidra." Marko replies, nodding his agreement. "Last thing we need's them jumping willy-nilly." he says. "Which they'd almost certainly do." he sighs. "Am I the only one who feels weird about speaking of the civilians as if they were a _problem_?" he asks, sipping at his bug juice. "Not that I'm saying they aren't one. But still…feels….odd."

"I'm certain people at higher paygrades than I have have considered the security issues of having a civilian ship in our midst. I don't think I'd be sending them any information they hadn't already thought out before it trickled down to me." Leyla shrugs, sipping at her coffee, "I don't know. I haven't really much spoken about the civilians to anyone else. But they are a problem. And they're just going to get worse once they have their own ship. Hell, they're rumours about them wanting to start up their owen government. Even elect a president."

"Well, that makes sense…" Marko replies, settling back in his seat as he contemplates his bug juice. "If we're to make it out of this mess, we have to have something on stand-by to pick up where the government left off." he adds. "Right now, it's maybe a little too crazy for that kind of thinking. But long-term….Yeah, I can see it."

"Not to me it doesn't." And that's said completely flatly, as Leyla sets down her mug. "Let's be frank, Marko. Right now the only reason this ship and its crew are even functioning is because most of the people on the ship are still taking their oaths to the military seriously. Most of us have chosen to set aside our personal needs and feelings for the betterment of the crew and all of the survivors as a whole. We work because we work together. You've seen how divided the civilians are. For frak's sake, they've even picked out their own little camps in the hangar. The Sagittarons especially are unwilling to bend to anyone's beliefs but their own. Why the frak do you think Shiv is dead? Because some frakass civilian couldn't put aside his own personal shit when push came to shove. You think it's going to get better with a government? First you're going to have probably half a dozen people all clamouring that they want to be president. Then you're going to have half a dozen more claiming that they're not being properly represented, then even if they do elect a president, maybe even a brand spanking new quorum there are going to be dissidents that won't want to listen to anyone. You think the end of the world has changed any of the hate and bigotry and narrow-mindedness that the Colonies have spend how many hundreds of years trying to quell? If you do you are dreaming, my friend."

"But what's the alternative?" Marko replies, voice reasonable. "A permanent military junta that's responsible to no-one?" he asks rhetorically. "We swore an _oath_, in the sight of the _Gods_ to uphold the Articles. just as I swore one to honor my wife until my death. You can't just pencil that out because it's messy, or inconvenient.." he says firmly. "We staked our _honor_ on that document, it may be flawed, hell, it is flawed as frak-all. There still may be tensions and all of that other horse shit to deal with, but you don't erase an oath." he says firmly. "And my oath was to the Articles. And they say we are to have a civil government, good, bad, right, wrong, or indifferent."

"If you hadn't married Raine, would you be any less faithful to her? Would you, do you treat her with any more respect and consideration and care now that you have a piece of paper or whatever that says you're her husband, than you did before when you were just her lover? I'm voting for no. Yes, we swore an oath, and we, those of us who chose to remain serving members of the military are bound to uphold it regardless of our personal feelings. But we also understand that now, more than ever, order is what is keeping us together. That whatever has to be done to keep order has to be done. No matter what the personal cost. And right now, what those civilians need is that sort of desire to uphold order and to maintain stability. And the military junta, if that's how you look at us as regards the civilians is responsible for keeping those civilians alive. And frankly, when they agreed to come aboard our ships, they should have realized they would have to live under the regulations set out by the military. We're in the middle of a warzone, we're at war. Who do you think is going to win, in a battle between civilians and the military? Let's say for example, this government gets off the ground. And this government suddenly decides they want to return everyone to the colonies, do you think we'd just ferry them back to the ground to die? No, we'd refuse to send them back to their deaths. And then what good would the government be then? As useless as having no government at all."

"And that, right there, is the kind of thinking that leads to all kinds of trouble." Marko points out simply. "Order is all well and good, until it isn't." he says simply. "We have to have a government that's responsible to it's citizens." he says, reasonably. "A military command structure's great, for the _military_, and I'm fine with that, or I wouldn't have joined. " he points out. "I've got no qualms about being sent to my death." he adds flatly. "If that's what has to happen ,that's what has to happen. I just don't want _that_ to be the law of the land."

"And what other law of the land would you like to see? Should we completely separate the civilians from the military? Not even bother to have security on the civilian ship? Let them find their own pilots and do what they want with their own ship? Completely wash our hands of them, because they're not military? Because they should have their own say in what happens in their own lives? Because they have a government to lead them and we have commanding officers? Because that is how things are run in the colonies. The military acts at the behest of the president of the colonies. So let's say they do elect a president, are we now bound to follow their orders, do as the civilians say we should do? Because according to the Articles, the president is the commander of all of the armed forces?"

"Isn't that the point?" Marko counters simply. "That the President is the highest authority in the chain of command?" he asks. "You've come to the wrong shop for fascism, Sweet Pea." he sighs. "We've tried that, and look how it turned out." he points out. "Look at the mess it made. Maybe if we could form a civil government we could start setting things to rights. We've got more or less a blank slate…It's time to start thinking about the future."

"In the colonies as they were after unification, yes, the president as the highest authority in the chain of command. But how many years did they continue having to force the president's power on the colonies that didn't want to be unified? How many of the people from my colony were killed for resisting, for wanting to be free of what they considered to be a dictatorship? How many people on Sagittaron died for the same reason? How many of our own crew died because the Sagittarons still believe that, even after the end of the world as we know it? Do you really think, if having a president and a free civilian government was such a good idea that there would have been so much resistance to their control? Being from Caprica yourself, perhaps you simply can't understand how poorly having a single unified government actually went over on the other colonies. Tauron and Sagittaron for example, didn't fall under the sway of the president and his government easily, they were ground under the bootheel of his military power. Forced to give up their freedom because he and his government thought it was a good idea for everyone to get together. But more to the point, tell me, Marko…can you think of a single civilian now on this ship, who has the capability to lead the fleet in such a way that the fleet and the human race will continue to survive and eventually rebuild itself? One person who is capable of seeing the big picture, of putting every prejudice, every personal consideration, every single thing that makes them unique aside, in order to lead the fleet for the betterment of all?"

"Well, if that's the case, then we might as well just chuck ourselves out of the airlock _now_." Marko replies, frustrated. "I'll be the first to tell you the whole system was frakked." he replies. "That's not my point. My point is that we're all in the same boat now…" he says, stifling a yawn behind his fist. "I've seen how the Marines deal with the civvies….and it doesn't make me particularly proud to wear the uniform sometimes." he says, sighing as if confessing a great sin. "I don't want _THAT_ to become our future."

"And yet you're advocating returning us to that self-same frakked system, by advocating for a separate and autonomous civilian government." The small pilot comes to her feet, "And if we're all in the same boat now, then why do we need anything separate at all?" Leyla gathers up her mug, and Marko's tray, leaving him his mug of juice, "And I've seen how the civilians treat those who have spent every waking moment putting their lives on the line to keep them safe and alive. Whatever Shiv'a faults were, whatever he did in the past, he didn't deserve to die like that. But he did. Because a civilian decided that nothing that he had done for the good of every human being in the fleet was worth anything. I've also seen how they treat each other, rioting and fighting. Kicking a woman and her two newborn children to get them out of their way, as if they were nothing more than trash on the hangar floor. Perhaps I put too little faith in them, Marko, I won't deny that. But I think you put too much." Leyla gets rid of the last of her dishes, before she heads back to her ECO, "Now let's get back to the berthings. We've got an early day in the morning. That FTL won't find itself."

"Yeah, I need a shower, then it's rack time." Marko yawns, collecting his hush-hush folder of mystery as he drains his mug of bug juice. Rising, he stacks it in the dirty rack as he follows Leyla back to the berthing area.

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