BCH #004: Lessons Of Victory
Lessons of Victory
Summary: Discussing the outcome of the joint wargame against the Checkmates, Lasher shows Sitka he's got a mind to go with those shooting skills.
Date: February 22, 2041
Related Logs: Eyes in the Sky
Laskaris Sitka 

-[ Viper Squadron ]- -[ Naval Deck - Battlestar Cerberus ]-

Viper Squadron pilots call this home. Berthings line the walls with grey curtains to cover their sleeping areas. Lockers sit between each stack of berths and a round table sits in the center with chairs around it. A hatch at the end leads to the communal Head that the Raptor pilots share.

-=[ Condition Level: 3 - All Clear ]=-

It's a little after shift change in the Knights' berthings. Clothing's strewn about the deck, someone's listening to music too loudly in their bunk, and a few showers can be heard running in the adjoining head. One of the chairs at the table's currently occupied by the visiting Reservist Captain, in a rumpled N A V Y tee shirt and fatigues only half-shoved into combat boots, smoking a cigarette while he does some paperwork.

And in enters Laskaris, having just gotten off shift himself. Looks like it was just a boring CAP rotation for Lasher today, as he comes in still wearing his flightsuit with his hair characteristically matted and slicked with sweat. That'll happen, sitting four hours in a cockpit. Exhaling softly as he closes the hatch behind him, he nods to Sitka as he moves towards his bunk. "Shiv," he offers brusquely. There's a glare offered towards Mr. Music Aficianado's bunk stops next to his own rack.

Sitka's eyes come up briefly as someone enters, and alight on the sweaty, flight suited Lieutenant as he crosses his field of vision. "Hey, Lasher," he offers in return, low-voiced but somewhat affable. "Good run?" His pen scratches against paper as a few notes are made, and a pull taken from his cigarette. The music's either not bothering him, or he can't be assed to ask the guy to turn it down.

Lasher, however, can. A sweaty palm bangs against the frame of the guy's rack, and when he looks up he's got just under six feet of angry Lieutenant staring down at him. There's no question what that look means. Startled, the junior pilot turns his music down; not that much, but enough to notice. Seems to be enough for Laskaris, anyway, who turns back and pulls a pack of cigarettes from the pocket of the discarded pair of trousers on his bed. A quick flick of the lighter gets it going, and he nods over to Sitka as he unzips his flightsuit down to his waist. "Quiet run, anyway," he replies. "I'd forgotten just how quiet. Bleedin' wargames are spoilin' me." He jerks his chin towards Sitka's paperwork. "Looks fun," he remarks laconically.

The exchange, if it could be called that, is watched from the corner of the Captain's peripheral vision, though he keeps his head down for the duration. And seems very faintly amused by the end of it. More scribbling of pen on paper, his cigarette held between two fingers of the same hand while he writes. "The patrols seem like a formality, anyway. No real shipping lanes out here, are there? Pirates?" As his paperwork's indicated, "The CAG wants me to mock up a little demonstration. Something to impress the delegates, I guess. In fact, I was hoping to borrow you— are you qualified on the twos?" The Mark IIs, he probably means.

"Nothing but the star, the rocks, and empty space. Perfect setting to pretend-blast the crap out of each other away from prying eyes," Lasher quips. He shrugs, inhaling a breath of smoke. A hand reflexively runs through his hair, pulling out some of the sweat induced tangles. There's a nod in response to the question. "I am, yeah. Not much call for it most days, but I do keep practice in the simulators. Like I told the CAG once, you learn a lot more from frakkin' up in the Twos than in the Sevens." A thin smile.

The smile's answered by a similarly diluted, fleeting little turn of Sitka's lips. Not disingenuous so much as distracted; the paperwork seems to have most of his attention, though that's presently put on hold as he clicks off his pen, tosses it aside, and eases back in his chair to regard the taller Lieutenant. "Probably why they're used to teach nuggets," he notes. "I'm thinking something pretty basic. It doesn't take much to impress the stuffed shirts. A few barrel rolls, some formation flying. Without atmo, I won't bother with anything gravity-defying, or red smoke, or that sort of thing. But you come well-recommended; so if you've got any ideas, I'm open to them."

"Well-recommended, eh?" A brow shoots upward at that, but Lasher makes no further comment. His arms fold over his chest as the cigarette dangles from his lips; a thoughtful half-frown appears on his face. "Honestly, I wouldn't have much of an idea. Demonstrate some combat maneuvers, perhaps… something like a Thach weave, for example would be simple enough, but would probably look impressive as all get-out, you get enough planes." Another contained shrug.

Mention of the combat maneuver lights another, small smile on the Captain's lips. "Good idea. I don't use it very often in small squad demonstrations, but we'll be running maybe ten or fifteen birds for this. Five by five, and have the rest pull a chandelle, maybe." It isn't written down, so he either has a pretty good memory, or was already considering it. "How'd yesterday's games go? I caught the tail end of them, on patrol, but I couldn't see much from where I was."

The mention of the wargames finally gets a full-on grin from Laskaris. "I'm two for two," he replies. "I don't think anyone expected the Raptor backseaters t' do as well as they did, what with keeping a targeting link to the Vipers. We took out Blowback and her wingman without so much as a single casualty." There's a short, wicked-sounding laugh from the lieutenant. "She was staring daggers at me when we got back t' the ship."

"Blowback. Captain Valance, right?" He's clearly still trying to piece names together with faces— and there are a lot of faces to remember, in a wing this size. "I hear she's pretty sure of herself in the cockpit." Which is probably putting it mildly, but the glint in his blue eyes says that he knows this full well. "What'd you take away from it?" he asks next, perhaps a little out of left field.

Laskaris nods in affirmation. "That's her." Another smirk. "Well, you could say that for a good chunk of the Viper pilots in the fleet, Captain." He takes a drag, his finger lightly tapping on the cigarette, sending several flakes of ash fluttering down silently. He blinks at the question. "You mean, kill tally or 'moral of the story' type shit? One, for the former, and for the latter…" A pause. "One, the Raptor can do more than we sometimes think. Two, we might not always have all the fancy little gewgaws in our cockpits at our disposal, and we need t' be adaptable."

It's probably not the kill count he was after, as there's no response from the Captain when it's given. He does continue to regard Laskaris mildly though, cigarette brought to his lips with an accompanying trail of smoke. "Well," he answers with a slight smile, "that's the canned response you'd give to the CAG. I'm more curious about what you think you've learned from the exercise. Assuming your performance wasn't flawless." The cig's withdrawn, and he exhales smoke out his nose. "Humour me?"

"As much as I'd like t' claim otherwise, hardly flawless," Lasher notes, leaning against the nearby wall of bunks. He looks down silently at Sitka for a moment, regarding the captain thoughtfully. "All right, then." A finger in his non-smoking hand jabs into the air. "One. Confidence, to a point, is an asset to a fighter pilot. Overconfidence, however, is what got Blowback and her wingman killed. But then, that's nothing new to anyone who made it through flight school." A second finger unfolds from Lasher's hand to join the first. "Two. Being told you have an advantage or disadvantage doesn't necessarily make it so. Combat is decided as much, if not more, by good tactics and good execution as by numbers or a technological advantage. Neither Captain Abbascia nor Captain Valance grasped that concept, and it each cost them a victory in one way or another. Captain Valance for assuming she never had anything but the upper hand, and Captain Abbascia for barely doing anything to try and even the odds even when he knew they were against him." He tilts his head as he finishes, lips twitching ever so slightly as he waits for Sitka's response.

Sitka's response? Is to grin slightly, crooked though it may be. He never quite makes eye contact, but there's no doubt Lasher's the focus of his attention at the moment— even with busybody pilots shouldering past the pair at regular intervals. "Better," he offers, a bit cheekily. "Someone once told me that.." His eyes flick away as he seems to bring the words to mind. "The tactician knows what to do when there is something to do, whereas the strategist knows what to do when there is nothing to do." A beat. "I'm probably misquoting, but maybe you get my drift." He eases forward in his chair again, and retrieves his discarded pen. "Anyway, sounds like you did a good job out there. Just keep in mind that even a win can teach you something. Sometimes it's just harder to find."

Lasher inclines his head slowly. "I believe I do." The cigarette comes back to his lips, tendrils of smoke framing his face. One of said busybody pilots gets a look as he brushes past the blond lieutenant. Then, slate colored eyes fall back upon Sitka. "As you say, even our victories have their lessons. The ones that don't learn them, though, are the ones that end up never amounting to anything. I don't intend t' in the service forever – but I don't intend be one of those, either."

The grin, of course, is long gone, and Shiv once again seems intent on his flight plan. Something about 'thach weave' is slotted into his bullet points. "Glad to see you aren't just another stick jockey with more balls than sense. Navy seems to breed them like rabbits." That last part's murmured so low, it might not even be caught. His cigarette's finally dragged from one last time, and put out in an ashtray on the table. "I've got a deck Chief to track down. I'll put up a program-" He nods toward the bulletin board on the opposite wall while he gathers his things together. "-in the next day or two, along with the team breakdown. So if you could get back to me before then, on whether you're in or out."

Lasher acknowledges the compliment with another crooked smile of his own. "Notice that, did you?" Oh yeah, he caught the little non sequitur. Then, like Shiv's own, Laskaris' expression goes serious. "You can go ahead an' count me in, sir. Wouldn't miss it," he says dryly. Silence hangs in the air for a moment, but Lasher has one more thing to add. "If you don't mind my saying so, Captain, you've been a surprise yourself." He shrugs. "You can imagine what we hear about reservists on the active side. It seems a lot of rot now, though, if what I've seen the past few days is any indication." With that, he abruptly pushes himself off the wall, heading back towards his rack as Sitka moves to leave.

Paperwork collected, Sitka elects not to bother buttoning his fatigue jacket, or tucking his trousers neatly into his combat boots. Maybe he figures he can get away with a little more, as a Captain. Or maybe he just doesn't care. "All right." He glances at the taller pilot briefly, on his way to the hatch. "We'll do a few practice runs before the commissioning ceremony, or whatever the hell they're calling it. Stay tuned." Thunk, thunk, pause. He half-turns at the return compliment, and gives nothing other than a little mock-salute of two fingers to his temple. "Take it easy, Lasher," precedes his subsequent departure.

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