PHD #399: Knowledge for Knowledge
Knowledge for Knowledge
Summary: Sawyer and Trask trade info about The Gun, its potential to detect skinjobs, and all the repercussions of such technology. They also discuss the seeming sentience of Raiders and Centurions, as well as the possibility that skinjobs are uploading the consciousnesses of human prisoners into killer robots. Afterwards, the jerkass photocopies his ass.
Date: 01-02 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: Whittled Down By Small Cuts (Trask's skinjob detection hypothesis); The Promise of Science (MolGen & Miranda); Cost of Business (Reiderer discloses The Gun's skinjob detection capabilities); Danny's Cylon Detecting Lament (Benoit confirms The Gun's capabilities); A Lack of Testing (Sawyer gets the 411 on The Gun); Feasibility, Clankers: Blood for Blood; It Lies in Odd Numbers, Part II (stuff on the thumbdrive); & The Man Behind The Curtain (Sawyer's tour of the Areion).
Sawyer Trask 
News Room - Deck 3 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #399
This compartment isn't huge by any means, an afterthought shoved into an alcove when the engineer was finishing the final plans for the ship. The long awkward rectangle is filled with several desks and those heavy pieces of machinery that are tools of the media trade — copiers, computers, printers, and of course a seemingly never-ending supply of paper of both the A4 and broadsheet variety. In the far port corner hangs a mulberry-colored hammock attached to the bulkhead — where the head-reporter-in-charge is purported to spent her nights. Three heavy desks have been moved to form an inverted 'U' for the new Editor in Chief's work station, and behind them lies the hatch to the modest closet-sized darkroom.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

With this illness spreading around the Cerberus, the staff of the News Room is running a little thin. Volunteers, all of them, some aren't willing to risk getting sick just to push papers and have opted to stay aboard the Elpis. Sawyer, of course, is not one of them. Poised at the copier, she's currently futzing with some setting or another, trying to coax the machine into churning out the latest issue of the Fleet bulletin. "C'mon, you stubborn bitch."

"I happen to know for a fact that no woman likes being addressed in such a manner." And, to a mechanic-slash-engineer, technology tends to be considered feminine, insofar that inanimate objects are assigned a gender. More importantly, with Bootstrap's uninvited arrival, odds are the journalist's frustration level is about to increase. Her own fault for leaving the hatch cracked open, although he closes the door behind him.

Sawyer glances over at the voice, but has to do a double-take. Apparently, she's not used to the beard despite having seen him a few times in passing in the sickbay. For a moment her eyes trace over his features with a certain fondness, but then she remembers one important fact: it's Kal. Her attention returns to the copier, making a kneeing motion so her thigh rams in the paper tray. "This copier is no woman. It takes great delight in jamming up when it knows I'm actually trying to get work done." The words are a dark mutter of technical-unsavy frustration. "When Miller wants to run copies of his ass, it spews papers out just fine."

One condition of being released from Sickbay was getting a post-quarantine hosedown before being given his thoroughly disinfected duty greens. Seeing how he promptly returned to work as soon as he was discharged, and that the past eighteen (18) hours — notwithstanding a two-hour power nap between those eight (8) hour shifts — have been spent on-the-clock. The SL hasn't bothered to take another shower. Ergo, the beard that grew over the past six (6) days remains.

It being Kal, however, also means he smirks with a knowing amusement at Sawyer's incorrect proclamation about the copier not being a woman, especially in light of the whole 'it takes great delight in jamming up when it knows I'm actually trying to get work done' comment. "That's 'cuz Miller knows how to treat her," is said to the blonde before he addresses the machine, "Ain't that right, beautiful?" Callused hands possessing a skillful touch alight on the machine, which means the journalist can either step aside of her own accord or can find the jerkass' admittedly oh so fine ass suddenly usurping her spot as he settles in to work.

<FS3> Trask rolls Repair: Great Success.

"I don't know if I want you getting cooties on my equipment." But Sawyer begrudgingly moves aside so the man with the golden (engineering) fingers can do what he may to her copier, if only for the sake of getting it running again. She pulls a smoldering cigarette from where it was left tilted against the rim of an ashtray. "You've been given a clean bill of health?" Of course, she has vested interest in his answer, but maybe if she tries real hard, she can pretend it's in regards to her own personal health. And she looks like she's trying real hard at something while she fixates on a blank span of bulkhead.

"The entirety of this battlestar and its contents have been inundated with my cooties for ages now," is the nonchalant comeback. Cooties or not, whatever it is that the snipe-turned-knuckledragger-turned-ECO is doing to the copier, it's responding as though it would be more than happy to check if the man has any STDs. As for the reporter's question, he idly quips, "Nah. They're just so sick of you loitering down there, they thought I should infect you so you could get a first-hand exclusive."

"Or they were just so desperate to get rid of you, they released you early even if it was to the detriment of the rest of the fleet. I wouldn't put it past them to use germ warfare." The last sentence is in stark contrast to the first, while the former was a bit of good-natured teasing, the last is spoken darkly. "Kal, I have something I need to tell you." Despite not being able to meet his eyes, because her cigarette is far more interesting. Besides, he has a copier to fix.

"Guess you have a scathing article to write about the hazardous military practice of disregarding safety regulations," is the blithe reply about Medical being so desperate to get rid of the man. As for Sawyer needing to tell him something, "I already know that if 'cooties' and 'equipment' were meant as euphemisms, you totally want more than my cooties on and no doubt in your equipment." Cue the saucy sidelong glance and equally incorrigible curve of his mouth.

Oh, and some beeping from the copier as it's brought back online. "A'right," Trask tells the Editor-in-Chief, "she's good to go. Resend your print job, at you leisure." And what is his payment for services rendered? Why, he reaches right on over to pluck the cigarette from betwixt the woman's lips.

Sawyer's jaw juts out slightly, lips parted now that they're bereft of their smoke. It's an 'oh no you didn't' look if there ever was one. It really makes opening up to Trask difficult, when he's just so flippant about everything. "Yeah. Just forget it." Sawyer turns to head to her desk, flopping down into the chair and searching for her glasses. She's wise to put them on before she goes about navigating the menu file on her editing program to find the print option. "So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit? Unless you really did come down here to discuss cootie delivery systems, in which case, the answer is 'no thanks'."

"You probably should tell me what I should be forgetting just to make sure that I don't accidentally start thinking about it." Because getting him to drop a matter isn't any easier, really. Leaning against the industrial-grade copier-slash-printer, the man contentedly puffs away on the stolen cigarette. And even though Sawyer's words may be saying 'no, thanks' — a sentiment that her eyes and pretty much the rest of her body language also convey — deep down she really means 'yes, please'. That's Kal's story anyway, and he's sticking to it, although that does not preclude him from telling aforementioned industrial-grade copier-slash-printer, "Looks like I might be available for that date, after all, Iris." Yes, the device now has a name.

"This is how the story goes. The nice girl always gets passed over for the one that can collate," Sawyer says dryly, hitting the magical button that starts the machine behind him humming and shortly there after it starts to spit out copies as smooth as the day it rolled off the production line with a full warranty.

Just because Sawyer's desk is now clean (thanks the magical filing fingers of her erstwhile assistant), that doesn't mean the journalist can actually find anything. She starts pulling open drawers, fumbling around for another pack of cigarettes. "So, it turns out Abbot didn't have a fair trial after all." Maybe this is what he was supposed to be forgetting, or it's another change in subject. Sawyer seems distracted by something in her drawer for a moment, and then she pulls out a fresh pack of cigarettes and is slamming the thing shut with a bit more vim than really necessary.

"Never hurts when the girl who can collate is also willing to put out," is lightly quipped before moving on to the subject of Abbot. "Kinda difficult when everyone's lookin' for a scapegoat. Doesn't help that the guy was willing to go along with it, as I understand it." It's a simple observation. One that Trask follows-up with a flick of flint that sets his flip-top lighter afire, now near enough to Sawyer to spark her smoke. "Personally, I'm not convinced he actually was — is? — was?" The man doesn't linger on what is the proper conjugation. "Whatever." Seriously. "Him. A skinjob. Past- and maybe even present-tense. Frakked if I know. What I do know is that my opinion wasn't solicited." Indeed, he was not on the jury, "And that I'm dead certain CIC still has a mole. Just no real way of proving it." Beat. "Yet, anyway."

"Will was never the issue." Sawyer uses the opportunity presented by lighting her cigarette on the flame offered by Trask for that simple sentence to settle in like a cinderblock tied to a drowning puppy. She straightens away with her lips canted towards the ceiling to release that first lungful of smoke. "No way of proving it," she repeats, flip-flopping between conversation topics, "Or so we thought. It turns out the Areion has that technology, has had that technology, and just not deigned to use that technology - even to prove the Admiral's guilt or innocence."

Wait. What? Back up. "Wait. What? Back up." Because it warrants saying it in addition to thinking it. Resoundingly, the lighter lid clacks shut. "What do you mean they've had the technology for some time now?" The undercurrent of onsetting agitation isn't that of someone slow or simply confused, but that of someone trying to piece together something that is just bound to piss him off. And then it clicks: since Abbot's trial, it would seem. Even so, Bootstrap seeks confirmation. "Since the trial? Before then?" There's a testiness to the inquiry that suggests that, if the answer is yes, Rudolph Kepner will forcibly be fed his own ass once Trask yanks the asshole's head out of his — that being Kepner's — asshole.

Sawyer's smile is saccharine sweet. "Since before they even met up with the likes of the Cerberus. Welcome to my own personal hell. I needed a little company." And, with that little tidbit thrown out there, she turns her chair back to her computer, leaving her cigarette dangling between her lips with mild satisfaction written all over her features. Why? Because this is the version of Trask she knows how to deal with. Piss him off, and she won't have to think about the delightful tactile implications of his new facial hair.

"That asshole is gonna be forcibly fed his ass just as soon as I manage to yank his head out of his asshole." The low, heated manner in which that is uttered really isn't comforting. Unless, of course, a person finds a palpable sense of impending violence to be comforting. As befits someone just aching to beat the shit out of something — or, in this case, a very particular someone — Bootstrap balls his fists, which hang at his sides despite the unmistakable snap-trap tension in his arms. To his credit, he manages to refrain from punching or kicking anything.

"So…" Trask instead sardonically asks, "this something you managed to uncover, or did they offer this tasty tidbit after I brought Doc Adair aboard to conduct a feasibility study on using The Gun as a skinjob detector?" Because Sawyer isn't the only one with some knowledge to drop — and this is something that's been worked on off-the-record, so not all the security clearances Tillman gave her would have put this project on her radar.

"It wasn't on my tour, but then again, I'm beginning to think it was the bubblegum version they were working on to test the ride before they let the masses come through the line. You know, before they ship them all off to the gift shop to buy postcards and little snow globes of The Gun. In other words, they were trying to pacify me. Speaking of pacifying, you realize I have nothing to make you feel better about this, right? Though you're handling it remarkably better than I did. I think I cried and then puked. No. No, maybe it was the other way around." Sawyer gives a little shrug, that seems to have less bravado than her words. "The real kicker is, you can't tell anyone. Not yet. So no asshole-feeding-circle of life stuff."

Handling it better? More like, "Contrary to popular belief, I don't enjoy being right all the damn time 'cuz that just reinforces my craptastic view of the universe. Unfortunately, I've grown accustomed to being right." Bitter? Yes. Rueful? That, too. That's also life as the Taurian knows it. "I wish I could say I'm surprised that Kepner and the rest of his spooks would pull such a bullshit a stunt to wrest control of the Fleet, but I can't. I've been saying he's a menace for months, now."

The long drag from his cigarette does little to improve Kal's mood. "He your source, or is someone else? Like I said, I believe that frakker fully willing and able to pull that shit, but I've also been around the proverbial block enough times to know that some other asshole could also be workin' some angle that would benefit from putting Kepner and his cronies on the spot. What's the timeline on this, anyway? 'Cuz I pitched my idea to Cid back in February, and when she ran the idea past Baer, she said he was intrigued by the notion and that'd he'd run it up his C-O-C. Struck me as odd that they hadn't considered the idea before." With a bit of a smirk, he adds, "I guess they weren't expecting that I'd get crackin' on the hypothesis without their green light." As if that might've prompted them to 'come clean' about The Gun's capabilities.

All of which prompts the onset of brooding when he realizes that he's probably unwittingly endangered himself and Cameron. "No, see, the real kicker is that I'm telling Cid. She needs to know. Frak me if I have any idea how to handle Doc Adair. By getting 'im to sign on to this project, he might've signed his death warrant." Perhaps it sounds a bit melodramatic, but it also is a bunch of fanatical spooks they're contending with. If Kepner let a Rear Admiral get airlocked, what the frak will he care about ridding himself of a pain-in-the-ass Captain and some civilian neurologist specializing in biomechatronics?

"You said yourself that CIC has a mole in it, and who is Cidra's best friend? The TACCO herself. This will snowball faster than you can say 'frak me' again." Never mind that Cora is considered a buddy of the journalist, but there are some people Sawyer's talking to and some she's not. Apparently, Trask falls in the former category. "Very few people know about this outside of the Areion. Very few. And if you go blowing off half-cocked, you might just put my life in danger, too. So give me a week, tops. Just a week. And because if you don't promise, then I won't show you what's in the mysterious folder in my desk." Sawyer's hand slaps over the front of the pull-out cabinet supposedly in question, fingers splayed out protectively. "So promise."

For all he's keen on busting Toast's chops, he's quite quick to come to her defense. "Long before Cidra Hahn was my CAG, she was a squadron leader aboard the Aegean. For two years, I was her go-to guy on the Deck for anything and everything having to do with Raptors. She trusted me with her life and the lives of her pilots and ECOs long before I was among their ranks. She knows that if I tell her something /must/ be done a certain way, it's because the alternative will be disastrous and likely of fatal consequences. If I tell her she needs to keep it to herself, she will. And unless you can bring me irrefutable proof that she even hinted to that frakking waste of space," that being Cora, "about the Fleet's jump to Audumbla, I'm gonna keep believing that she'll keep her mouth shut when I tell her it's necessary."

That said, he's willing to compromise, if only because, "She's laid up in quarantine, though, so it's not like she has all her faculties about her right now. Telling 'er will just stress her out, and it's not like she can do anything while she's busy trying not to puke up her guts. /SO/, I'll give you until she's well enough to deal with this crap." A pause. Another drag. Another long stream of smoke exhaled. "What kind of contingency plans do you have? 'Cuz it sounds like they don't know that you know." And who knows what they'll do to keep someone quiet? "An' any suggestions for keeping Adair safe? He's swamped dealing with this flu and rash shit, so it's not like he's been workin' on the feasibility study lately, but I'm not about to let his goose get cooked." Oh how being responsible sucks.

Sawyer waves her cigarette wielding hand dismissively, "Cidra knows I'd give my left grolly for her, if she asked. I was merely trying to deter you from running off and compromising my source. And I won't even begin to tell you how disappointed I am in this, that you knew it could be a possibility and you were working with some other civilian and didn't even have the decency to give me the heads up before I walked right into Kepner's little lair of lies."

Her cigarette gets plugged back into her mouth, her lips drawing in as she takes a little drag. Likewise, it does nothing to settle the sour in her stomach. But onward and upward. "Anyways, I don't need a contingency plan above and beyond blowing this story wide open so every living soul in human existence will know that the Areion has had the technology to deliver us from evil, and has decided - for some reason - not to play nice and share. And for Adair, if he hasn't had time to dig, I don't see what danger he's in. You got my note, I assume? Did you read it, or just trash it?"

Despite all of this conversation, she really can't meet his eyes for any great length, finding something to fiddle with here or there to keep her attention. Now she's pulling out that folder. "Also: you still haven't promised."

With a bit of a wry smirk, Trask notes, "Yanno, I really /am/ more than /just/ delicious eye candy. Hard to believe, I know, but I really am." Ash is tapped to the floor. "And if you were a published neurologist with a background in biomechantronics that I'd recruited last year to help analyze the Raiders and Heavy Raiders we've been dissecting, you'd've been Cee-Cee'd on the memos." Which, for the record, should the investigative journalist ever bother to investigate, there are none. Memos, that is. Spooks aren't the only ones who can work under the proverbial DRADIS, after all. "Not my fault you failed to consider that I might've put two an' two together and came up with four. It's not like my interest in that frakking Gun was a secret." Hells, he's the one who initially tipped-off Sawyer about its existence so many months ago.

As for the note, he reveals, "For what it's worth, I'd already decided to come speak with you about MolGen some two weeks before you swung by." With aforementioned note. "Since we're on the subject, though… I recall you had a recorder. You manage to get anything on it from that Miranda thingy?" Yes, he just called the prototype Centurion a 'thingy'. "I'm willin' to trade knowledge for knowledge," because there's something else that he knows that he's banking the blonde does not. And, whatever it is that has him so interested in MolGen and Miranda — and she should know him well enough by now to recognize that his interest in this is no idle curiosity — it's significant enough that he was working-up to dealing with Sawyer even after the booze-induced, oh so sour exchange they had a few days after her birthday.

And still no promise. The folder goes back in the drawer. "You're always so great at highlighting a person's shortcomings," Sawyer mutters as she peels off her glasses and tosses them onto a stack of papers. The journalist then laces her fingers together and rests her forehead against her kissing thumbs. With her elbows on the desk, it almost looks like the supplication of prayer with the added factor of a cigarette still burning between her knuckles. "I've got the entire conversation with Miranda on audio recording, including some narration of the visuals I was unable to capture. I also have still photos."

"Proably 'cuz people are so great at coming up short," is the slightly snarky response. Instead of dwelling upon that most unfortunate Universal Fact, the man opts for something more productive: parking his ass on Sawyer's desk. "Prove me wrong," he then nonchalantly challenges. "Redeem humanity for me, even if only a little bit." Because his life-experiences all but prove that People Suck. "Gimme a copy of what you have and I'll tell you why I want it."

Sawyer lifts her head off her hands, stamping out her cigarette in quick little jabs at the ashtray. That little bit of housework done, she fully and finally looks at Kal with resolution etched all over her features. "I tried. And then you broke my heart." It's stated as fact, with every ounce of emotion drained from the statement. Or attempted to. There's still something in her eyes, which is probably why she's been hiding them all evening. "So that would be your shortcoming." A pause before she counters. "Tell me why you want it, and I'll give you a copy."

Although it may not be evident with the man's facade of strutting ego, the fact remains that Kal Trask has never claimed to be exempt from the whole 'People Suck' notion. Painfully ambivalent in nature, self-loathing is firmly locked in battle with a stubborn sense of self-preservation and a genuine desire to be better than what he despises even if he is generally at a loss as to how he can actually accomplish that. So, even if he's rather flippant when he simply notes, "That's hardly my only shortcoming," it's not with dismissiveness or denial that he's caused harm and heartache. There's an unmistakable ruefulness in his damnably expressive eyes, as well as a sad curve to his mouth as if to say 'I know I'm a frak-up. Believe me, I know, and I wish it weren't so.' And, in that moment his gaze meets and holds Sawyer's own, there is simply a quiet sense of helplessness, for he truly is at a loss when it comes to not being such an ass. Fear and anger (self-directed and otherwise) tend to hold sway in his personal universe.

What's to be done about it, though? He sure as frak doesn't know, so he retreats into something he /can/ handle and understand. Reaching into a pocket, a datastick is retrieved. Nothing on it is CLASSIFIED information, but the proverbial ducks are all in a row. "Short version: Raiders have something akin to dolphin-like intelligence and trainability. Just, yanno, on some kind of neuro-crack. Details are in Doc Adair's report," which is one of several documents on the thumbdrive. "Turns out they also have some kinda chip implanted in their brainmeats, in the area that should control reasoning and higher-functions like self-awareness, willfulness, that kind of thing. The kicker is that Cents have such a chip, too."

Oh, but there's more. "July 23rd, the boarding party came across a Centurion wearing Colonial dog tags that not only shot to shit the tincans attacking our peeps, but that seemingly responded to the name on those tags before effectively committing suicide by blasting its own head off." Again, the full report is there, as is the engagement from, "April 11th, Centurions stood-down on the Starboard Hangar after Lance Corporal Harlan Brenner traded his life for a cease-fire. They blasted him to the Nine Hells and then promptly stopped shooting and just stood there while we kept blastin' at 'em." Spoken like someone who was an eye witness, because, as that report shows, Bootstrap was. "The Sister," a beat, "Captain Karthasi said it was an act of xenia on the trashcans' part. I wouldn't know about that, but she's the expert on that kind of thing."

There is a searching of Sawyer's eyes as they make a slow progress over Kal's features, as if trying to decipher the lines of his face, the curve of his lips, set of his jaw and the particular slope of his eyebrows. Maybe she can read him like a book, or maybe she can just sense that they are stuck in this impasse. Disappointment is far easier to swallow when you expect it; therefore, it's a simple transition back to the safety of work.

While she absorbs everything he has to tell her by way of the Cylons oddities, Sawyer stands from her desk as if she has to retrieve something. "One of the things we were able to pull from MolGen is that they were seemingly able to upload a human's psyche to a machine. Hence Miranda. Miranda was flesh before she was machine. Or rather, she was a collaboration of flesh. I think she was a conglomeration of all the scientists at MolGen. All indication is that was how the original Cylons were made, and MolGen was seeking a way to…disrupt that human brain pattern and therefore kill the mechanical host. Your oddities? Are those human psyches likely trying to overrule the technical programming. Your tincans? Are starting to feel."

She's by the hammock when she finally pauses, looking back over her shoulder before she starts futzing with the material of the sling. For a moment, it looks like she's unraveling a portion of it, but instead she's merely exposing a pocket. Where he is holding a single data stick, she's pulling out a string of them, held together by the beaded metal similar to what the military use for their dog tags. "Congratulations. You're now my contingency plan. If something happens to me, you take this. It's everything. All my interviews, files…everything." Flipping through the various colors of plastic, she chooses one and heads back over to her computer. "Anyways, Admiral Hauck was in charge of project Ananke. The Areion and MolGen were both subsets of that project."

The elephant in the room that is their personal relationship curls up for a bit of a nap, letting the not-quite couple contend with more manageable matters. Brown eyes follow Sawyer's retreat to the hammock, but the jerkass' ass doesn't budge from where it's parked on the desk. Coming down to the filter, Kal enjoys one final puff before grinding the cigarette butt into the nearby ashtray. "Please tell me you have back-ups." Because a little paranoia when lives are at stake is a healthy thing. As the reporter returns with one of her data sticks, the man observes, "I gather you'll also be leaving a decryption key." A beat. "An' who should I be going to with this? That one MP of yours?" Poor Danny Kincaid, to be referenced so. "Or is he another one of your contingency plans?" Never hurts to be well-prepared, after all.

As for the rest — Admiral Hauck, Ananke, Miranda, MolGen — Trask doesn't look the least bit surprised because he honestly isn't the least bit surprised. Instead, he poses a hypothesis, "You ever consider that maybe all those people seemingly stolen from their homes are being shipped to Centurion puppy mills?"

"I have back-ups. This is the one you get to know about. As for the decryption key? That 'MP of mine' has it. Or will. Between his and your heightening paranoia, I suppose it's time I take these measures." But yet neither will appear to be given the entire set of pieces to the puzzle. That's her own built in safety feature. Sawyer settles back at her computer, flicking one more glance to Trask's face before focusing on the computer to do the file copying that he requested and take his thumbdrive data to add those files to her menagerie. "What do you mean by puppy mill? When we took the Tower on Leonis, they had prisoners. The Skinjobs spoke of projects that they were going to abandon but do you think they were seriously trying to… upload?" Is that the word she wants to use? Seems so. "Upload these people?"

"All I know is that the raid on Rutger Tower was about 6 weeks before the assault on the facility hovering above Sag." The latter being where the dog tag wearing Centurion was encountered. "And we've found signs of abductions on Aerilon and Tauron. Could be that people are being rounded-up for slave labor," after all, there have been recon reports of humanoids working on at least Caprica and Libran, even if none of the images showed facial details, "but that strikes me as inefficient. 'course, one can't rule out sheer sadism and spite to trump a lack of workforce efficiency, but I somehow doubt it." Ever the cynical pragmatist is Bootstrap.

Perhaps anticipating a show of some sort, Trask slinks off the desktop and steps around Sawyer to stand behind her to see what, if anything, she has to show him in the here and now. The process of her copying files, however, doesn't interest him, which might account for how his eyes alight upon her hair and slowly sweep along the contour of her exposed neck, lingering.

Sawyer doesn't necessarily seem uncomfortable with Trask looming behind her, but there is something to her countenance like she's thrown off her game in the slightest way. As if feeling eyes on her, she lifts a hand and rubs at the back of her neck as if to ward away the rising flush to her skin. "Did you, uhm," What was she thinking about? Her train of thought gets derailed for a brief moment, realigning only after she clears her throat. "Did you want to listen to the recording now?"

When her hand moves to rub at her nape, Kal's eyes narrow faintly and the breath he softly draws feels just a bit fuller and heavier in his chest. Lips parted ever so slightly, the man's tongue grazes the lower left expanse to pause at what has become a dry spot at the corner of his mouth.

And then Sawyer's voice registers, disrupting his rapt fascination with the arc of her smooth skin. Quietly, he also clears his throat, fishing into his designated cigarette pocket to retrieve his near-empty pack of Allegheny smokes, one of which he pops into his kisser in lieu of something else. "Sure. Hold on." Because it occurs to him that locking the hatch would be a good idea considering the sensitive subject matter.

Sawyer turns her head slightly to see why Trask wants her to stay the process of her hitting play. She follows him with her gaze all the way until he's locking the hatch. The woman really has a fantastic imagination, if the blush cresting her cheeks is any indication. Luckily, she knows her own short-comings, and how to hide them behind a fringe hair as she dips her head to attend to something or other on her desk while she waits for him to return.

"So you know the story." Sawyer focuses on giving him a little background before she starts the record. "We were dispatched to MolGen - which in hindsight seems rather convenient that command knew to send us there - while the other team did a raid for flight capable machinery, etcetera. Ran the gambit of Scroll inspired booby-traps because a security system that just flashed a red light and declared 'Intruder' was too easy. And then we came to the room with an old model Centurion networked to a bunch of old computers by a web of wires. And then here is what happened…" She looks to him with her finger poised above the button on the mouse, ready to click 'play'.

By the time he returns, he's already puffing away, enjoying his beloved Allegheny tobacco. "Far as I'm aware," he relays, drawing the cigarette to Sawyer lips — but not relinquishing it — so that she may partake of a delicious drag, "team was sent there 'cuz Buns an' I were pickin' up the kinds of readings that've been daft to ignore." So says the ECO who did the recon of Leonis.

Sawyer looks from his eyes to the cigarette and back again, finally taking a drag of that rich tobacco that most of the ship would covet after toking away at the military issue brand the majority of them have been relegated to. She lets it cycle through her lungs to be expelled out her nose with a quiet murmur of thanks before she goes back to the computer screen. "I keep forgetting your connection to Leonis. This was before I really knew you." As much as anyone can really know Kal Trask, and much of that she ascertained by questionable means. "Anyway. You ready?"

Questionable means of which he remains utterly ignorant. Gods only know how he'd react if he ever learned that Sawyer hacked into a database and stole a copy of his Military Personnel Records Jacket (MPRJ), although mere mortals could certainly surmise Not Well At All. The initial intake form in his medical record alone paints a black-and-blue portrait of his never discussed pre-military life. "Sure," he says about the recording, before putting the cigarette back betwixt his lips.

Sawyer turns back to her computer, but hesitates just before she clicks on the little forward. "You know, on second thought I'll just copy this and you can listen to it later. This isn't really classified anyways, the Lords know I've given out a half a dozen copies already. I've listened to it a hundred times over, and I could recite it by memory by now." Her mouse zigs across the screen and she's closing out the file. The little bar that indicates the file progress is almost half done by now, and it's that which now has her attention.

"Whatever," is the nonchalant acceptance of needing to listen to it later. No skin off Kal's nose as long as he gets a copy before he leaves. Of course, this kind of puts the conversation at a standstill. So, he just smokes some more and starts walking back towards 'Iris', unfastening his belt along the way. With his back turned, Sawyer may not see it, but she just might hear the sound of the buckle being undone.

Sawyer seems somewhat relieved when Trask just drops the subject, and she is more than happy to let silence lull between them. What Trask failed to notice was the tremble in her fingers as she quickly maneuvered the mouse away from the recording. Why? Because the Journalist remembered just in the nick of time who /else/ was on that little sojourn: Penelope. And there are just some shadows she's not willing to chase after.

But it seems that it's not just the subject Kal is willing to drop; he's dropping… trou? Sawyer snaps her head in that direction, startled or perhaps not wanting to miss the show. "Precisely what are you doing?"

"Makin' some copies of my own," is the reply that's quasi-muffled by virtue of speaking with the cancerstick still in his mouth. Indeed, his cargo pants are scrunched down to his knees, and then Trask is up and sitting on Iris' face, so to speak. With a bit of wriggling, boxer-briefs are shimmied off enough that his butt is soon kissing glass. "Frak," is muttered as a bit of cigarette ash sloughs to fall between his legs. Not that this deters him from hitting the COPY button.

"No no, don't…" Sawyer is rushing forward, leaving her chair spinning lackadaisically as it was abandoned so abruptly. Of course, the journalist isn't fast enough, and the machine whirs back to life, and soon a nice photocopy of Kal's butt is being spit out into the tray. That paper is still warm to the touch when she yanks it from the output and thrusts it at him. "That's enough." And if he hit a multiple, she'll be doing likewise with the papers. "Take it."

"Oh, so it's okay for Miller to copy his ass. I see how this is." Two copies come out. That's it. Both of which he takes with mock indignation only after he hops off the printer-slash-copier, draws up his skivvies, as well as his pants, which he zips and buttons but leaves unbuckled. Even then, the papers are set aside when Bootstrap retrieves a felt-tip pen from one of his many pockets and asks, without looking at Sawyer, "What's Miller's first name, anyway?"

"Miller wasted paper, and while the stuff technically grows on trees," Or /is/ tree, but don't mind the technicality of it, "We still have a finite quantity in the grand scheme of things. Casey, his first name is Casey." An untrusting narrow of Sawyer's eyes follows. "Why?"

"How's he spell that?" The cigarette faintly bobs with the movement of the man's lips when he asks the question. Off comes the pen cap, and one sheet of ass image is arranged to be written upon.

Sawyer folds her arms over her chest, looking vaguely amused despite herself. "C-A-S-E-Y. You really are insufferable, you know?" She pitches up onto her tiptoes to give herself a more lofty advantage to see what he plans on writing on that piece of paper there. Because that's better to focus on than that buckle of his that's still hanging open.

<FS3> Trask rolls Creative: Terrible Failure.

What does it say?

Dear Casey,

You have been replaced. Surely, you can see why. I hope that we can remain friends.

All my best,

Except that in Kal's effort to make the writing as girly and sweeping and frilly a script as possible, it's pretty much illegible. Even the hearts that dot the lowercase 'I's look as though they've been curbstomped. "That look frou-frou enough to you?" he genuinely inquires of Sawyer. "Maybe I should add a daisy or somethin'."

"Great. Now he's going to hound me as to who Iris is and why oh why he's lost her to some…" Sawyer's finger touches the edge of the paper, manipulating it so she can get a look at the picture she was determined not to look at in the first place. Her sentence just ends in a little, 'hmm'. "You might want to get that mole checked out." She mentions without indicating on the photo precisely /where/ said mole is. She's lying by way of jest again, and just like that, for a brief second, she's transported back to a more simple time. A more simple time so that when she lifts her gaze to try and find his, hers are sparkling with pure mirth and the smile on her lips is genuine and not tainted with the months of tension.

With a derisive scoff accompanied with a roll of his eyes, Trask notes, "If he doesn't even know her name, he definitely deserves to be dumped." Then, to the machine, "Ain't that right, sugar tits?" A question capped with a 'love pat' to what must pass for Iris' rump. Re-capping and putting away the pen, he then quips to the blonde, "If anything needs to be checked-out, in a medical sense that is, it's your eyes, Averies. My ass is exquisite and flawless, thankyouverymuch." Fair enough, the jerkass really does have an oh so very fine rear end.

Alas, Sawyer can gaze all she wants, but for naught; he's busy scoping out the staff mailboxes. Heading that direction, he scans the names until he finds the slot assigned to one Casey Miller. As for the other sheet of paper, that is likewise gently curved to fit into the one belonging to the editor-in-chief.

That done, more ash is tapped and the cigarette tucked back betwixt his lips. Turning around to again face the reporter's general direction, Bootstrap indulges in a stretch that he's certainly earned after completing a 16-hour work day, two-hour power nap between 8-hour shifts notwithstanding. Naturally, this only highlights the fact that that his belt remains unbuckled. The noise of such, however, doesn't go unregistered, and he's soon enough fastening. "I should hit the hay. You finished copying?"

Sawyer's smile settles into something a little more self-admonishing, her gaze lowering to the tips of her black pumps that seem far more interesting to the song and dance of Kal readjusting his belt. "Yeah, yeah, I'm done for the night. You can go retire without fear that I'll abuse dear old Iris anymore tonight." She tosses her hair out of her eyes as she glances back up, but only after she's certain he's all squared away.

Shameless, really, although he's not making a show of it. Readjusting his crotch truly is a matter of manly impulse. Moseying to the computer, he clicks a few times to check that his files were successfully copied to Sawyer's directory and that the MolGen data is now on his thumbdrive. Confirming that is the case, he promptly ejects the item and tucks it into an inner pocket of his jacket. "Hey, if you girls wanna have a sexy pillow fight, that's your business. Just be sure to wear some slinky undergarments and get it all on film." Because he's incorrigible like that, effervescing a wicked glee.

"Rest well whenever you get around to it, Nanners." Yes, he just called Sawyer that. And before she can protest, he's finessing into her mouth what remains of his cigarette. Which, by the by, still has a few delicious drags of Allegheny tobacco to enjoy. "And thanks," is tacked on as he heads for the hatch.

"Don't mention it," Sawyer mutters around the filter of the cigarette, clamping it firmly with her lips because it'd be a shame to go to waste. She plucks the cigarette out of her mouth just in time for him to be swinging the hatch shut. "REALLY! DON'T MENTION IT!" she hastens to add, in reference back to their beginning conversation regarding the Areion. He never did promise. And she never did show him what was in that folder. More is the pity.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License