PHD #143: Kay-Eye-Ay
Summary: Cidra has a few words for her CO about their mission, such as it is. But Pewter knows which buttons to push on the less-than-inscrutable CAG.
Date: 19 Jul 2041 AE
Related Logs: Bye Bye Birdie - Air Wing
Cidra Pewter 
Commander's Quarters - Naval Deck - Battlestar Cerberus
The Admiral's Quarters are as stately as can be expected. One of the few rooms on the ship to get carpeting, it has numerous other small amenities that only few can ever dream of having. A personal bathroom has a privacy door to the side with its own shower and sink. The bunk has a queen size mattress which is set deep into the wall. Overhead of the bunk is personal storage while the rest of the room is lined with bookshelves and pictures from various points in the CO's life or noteworthy occasions. Above the Admiral's large oak desk is a set of displays the read-off various status reports throughout the day and night. A seating area with overstuffed chairs and a coffee table, is located nearer to the entrance hatch.
Post-Holocaust Day: #143

The CAG has not been precisely easy to catch over the past several days. Neither has the CO, for that matter, given the state of the ship. Words are needed to take stock of the current situation, however. Cidra's still in her flight gear when she comes to the man's cabin. Fresh off one of the double-CAPs currently running around the ship. Very likely running on inertia and stims.

As is Colonel Pewter, who's just gotten up from one of the catnaps his forty-nine-year-old body forces him to take — far more often than he likes. The man's sitting on the edge of his bunk, his blanket strewn across the floor; his pants and belt lie ignored on the floor, leaving him dressed solely in his plain black boxers and the inner layer of the traditional pair of sweats. One fumbling hand searches for the eyeglasses he keeps on the ledge behind his head; the other moves to hit the light switch located near his pillow. One very reluctant flick later and he's bathed in dim yellow light, the reading lamp above his head flickering to life with a buzz-qua-chirp.

"Shit," Pewter mutters, his ponderous voice like sandpaper being drawn across a chalkboard. "Over — oversl — " Glasses are shoved onto his face with no gentility whatsoever. "Overslept. Shit."

Cidra isn't exactly a fiery rook, herself. Which she is, after all these long hours, being reminded of quite firmly by her thirty-eight-year-old body. But she had enough inertia to carry her here, at least. The CO is eyed, but his state of undress really isn't paid much attention to. She comes to attention and salutes fluidly. "Colonel Pewter, sir. You did require words with me, I do recall? I apologize for not making myself available following the encounter with the Cylons. Matters needed to move most quickly for all of us." Oh-so-polite. But there's an edge underlying it that goes beyond near-exhaustion.

Pewter half-sighs, half-grunts as he pushes himself upright on his bed. He hasn't bothered to remove his socks, which now slide onto the exposed metal deck with far more slickness than he'd perhaps prefer. "Went lookin' for y'all after them snipes fixed up CIC right good," he mutters, straining for words as his eyes narrow as much as necessary to filter out the light streaming onto his face and torso. "Heard y'all went lookin' for me and we just slipped on by each other smoother'n a salmon down a bear's gullet, that we did." This time, he snorts — and it's immediately identifiable as such. "Godsdamn, what the frak did we do before we invented the intercom?"

Cidra continues to hold herself at attention. She hasn't, technically, been eased. Implied though it might have been. "I do not know, sir. I post-dated the advent of wireless communication by at least a few years." It's not really a joke. She goes on without actually relaxing, "In addition to the four pilots sacrificed to halt the basestar, our current situation is thus. An additional four Vipers M-I-A following the final accounts of the battle. We presume them killed. Remainder of casualties consist of injuries and damaged ships, but I do not believe at this time we shall take any further permanent losses. We are still able to maintain a CAP, of course." Bitterness there. She doesn't bother to mask it.

"Yup." The word is broken into its six component syllables. "I got Bootstrap's memo about the boosted CAPs. Bullet points. Nice of him," Pewter growls, tilting his head — out of the light — so he can finally look Cidra in the eye, his hands resting on his exposed knees as he does. Fingernails toy with the wiry hair on his lower thigh. "Y'all heard what I said about them pilots, I 'spect." Though he still looks exhausted, his voice sounds nowhere near as confused as it did a moment ago. "About what we're gonna be doin' after we fix this ship."

"I did hear that, yes." Cidra meets Pewter's eye without any sort of trouble. Hers are glaring at him at the moment. "I heard what you said." And she clearly did not much like it. "Permission to speak freely, Colonel. Please." The woman's manners are ingrained in her far deeper than anything OCS, or most fine Caprican finishing schools, could manage. But, at times, she wields the pleases and thank-yous as others might invectives. This is one of those times.

"I ain't wearin' pants," Pewter points out, lying back down on his bed and covering himself up with his blanket. His head hits pillow with surprising weight as he looks out toward the rest of the room, keeping his back turned to the lamp behind him. "This ain't the most formal of meetin' dos, if y'all know what I mean. Ease up and lay down the whuppin'."

He seems to have a fair idea about what's coming next.

"Yes, I noticed," Cidra deadpans, as to the colonel's lack of pants. She goes out of attention but nothing about her manner could be called eased. "We are going to hit them back, you said. Harder and faster." The words are spoken with utter scorn. "Can you tell me please, Colonel, what is the frakking point? I mean it. Tell me. What are we doing out here?"

For a long time, Colonel Pewter says nothing. The only sound that comes from his bed is his slightly ragged breathing — part and parcel of the slight itch that's made itself known at the base of his throat. It seems for a moment that he's fallen asleep until, very gently, he murmurs something so soft it'll take someone listening very closely to hear him: "Dyin'." And next — louder, but only slightly so: "Like a pipe in some old house that just won't quit leakin'. Drip. Drop." Thick lips move together to approximate the faint splash of rain on a pool of water. "That's what."

"Well. That is honesty, at least. We have *lost*. Everything is gone. And we keep 'hitting back' and we just keep losing more and more and more. So I ask you now, why are we doing it? What is my mission, Colonel Pewter, sir? Is it the survival of what is left? Have we any sort of plan how to go on from this? Or is it just vengeance? Are you just going to order me and mine to hurl our bodies at the Cylons and burn in the oblivion until you *feel* a little better? Sir." She has to pause to take a breath. "Because if that is my 'mission', then you can find someone else for this because I will not be that. I will pull every one of my birds out of the air and tell my people we are done and you can haul your rather large backside into a Viper and do *that* yourself. And I think I have demonstrated quite well, Colonel, that my people will follow my orders."

"I read y'all's file, y'know." If Pewter heard her rant, he doesn't seem to show it, folding his burly arms behind his head when she finishes talking. They're muscled arms — a blacksmith's arms, if there are indeed still blacksmiths in this day and age — and beneath the light their veins bulge and pop with something like the tension that isn't at all otherwise evident in his words and countenance. "Y'alls hubby. Hahn, Daedrek. 'Sunstroke.' Kay-eye-ay. Cause of death: big-ass space rock just spinnin' and spinnin'. Probably still spinnin' now, after all this shit." The man's voice sets his big belly a-rumbling, but there's surpassing tenderness in his tone. "Now what was all that fuss for, that he's drivin' around a big-ass rock next to some other big-ass rocks?"

The CAG is usually not a particularly violent woman. On the contrary. She has a seeming aversion to things like fisticuffs and guns that might be odd in her position. But she's frayed now. Beyond ranting. Particularly when he says that. Her right hand darts out to slap him full across the face. Hard as she can. It's not a punch, and she's very much not a boxer, but she puts a certain amount of effort behind it. "How dare you…?" Cidra trails off, breathing hard, closing her hand into a fist and bringing it up to her lips. That was…a bit farther than she'd intended to go, right there.

His skin is hard — rough, even, thanks to the fact that he hasn't bothered to take time to shave. Even then, the blow stings, and the Colonel's eyes blink closed after a sharp, quick inhale. "He blew up cause he ran into a godsdamned rock," Pewter repeats, as if the point wasn't clear. "Because some guy wearin' big brass buttons decided he wanted to see his pilots dance around in an asteroid field like them fancy ballerinas at the opera, I'd be bettin', if I was a bettin' man." Obviously, the CO has never been to either a ballet or an opera. "Now y'all tell me, Toast. What was that bullshit for?"

"Do not say his name." There are tears in her eyes, but Cidra's tone is still all of invective. "Do not *ever* say his name again. You have no right…" She has to just trail off. "What is your point, Colonel? My husband died for no reason, so you get to get my pilots and your Marines and your snipes and everyone else on this ship killed for no reason now, too? Is that it?"

"Nope." Slowly, deliberately, Pewter is removing the glasses from his face, folding them up with surprisingly delicate fingers. "Y'all gave the order that got y'all's pilots killed, Toast. Not me. Me, I got blinded. Couldn't see jack out there, not me, so I couldn't tell y'all's pilots to drive right into them engines." There's a heavy sigh. "So y'all gave the order and they drove right into them engines, and four men and women stopped the basestar so now, Toast, we can be here and y'all can sock me good in the face." The colonel's rueful chuckle is devoid of any true feeling. "Now y'all tell me somethin' else, Toast. Why give that order?"

"My duty is to protect this ship," Cidra says, very quietly. "Mine and theirs. And they did it. Because I thought, and they believed, that duty was more important than anything else we have left. But now, I just do not know what we are doing it for now." She turns to go at that. It's too slow a pace to be really called fleeing, but that's basically what it is.

"Ah," says Pewter, and his eyes drift open — the lines above them deepening, the bags beneath them widening. "And they believed it. But why, Toast, why?" His voice grows ever more sonorous the louder it gets, rising in volume until — with a tired sigh — he shakes his head and leans back on the pillow. "Ain't nobody wants to die if they think they're doin' it for nothin'." Pianissimo. "Now I didn't know y'all's husband." He doesn't say the name. "But I have a feelin' that if y'all ask him, he'd say he wasn't flyin' between them godsdamned rocks for shit giggles. Don't know why he did it, hotdoggin' like that for his CAG, but I'm bettin' I know what he damn well didn't do it for, and he damn well didn't do it for nothin'." Pewter sighs, twirling his glasses between thick fingers. "So I tell them we're gonna get the Cylons good, and I tell them it's our time, and I puff up this here chest and act like I'm some godsdamned coach from some sports movie, and then I see them straighten up them backs and puff up too, and — "

Silence reigns as the colonel chews the top of his lip.

"That ain't nothin'," the man finishes after a long moment of contemplation. "It may not be somethin', but it sure as hell ain't nothin'. Cause without it, Toast? Y'all might as well just have let the basestar ram us." More chewing; then: "That's all."

"There has to be more than that left, Colonel." Cidra's not looking at him now. Eyes on the floor. "I have to believe…I *want* to believe there is more than just…harder and faster. Until it is all gone." But any sort of ranting, any sort of argument, is out of her now. And it's still Condition 2, and there are still double-CAPs to run. Shoulders slumped, she takes her leave.

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