PHD #419: Leveling Up
Leveling Up
Summary: The DHs meet with Pewter to discuss Gemenon and ranks.
Date: 21 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: Gemenon Recons
Pewter Madilyn Cidra Mark 
Pewter's Love Palace
The CO's quarters are as stately as can be expected. One of the few rooms on the ship to receive carpeting, it also possesses several other amenities that would be unthinkable anywhere else. On the port bulkhead, a small door opens up onto a personal bathroom with its own shower and sink. Two plush armchairs and a single handmade rocking chair surround a coffee table placed directly in front of the head, its glass surface perpetually covered in coffee grounds and a dusting of creamer. Nearby, a queen-sized mattress is recessed into the wall, capable of sliding out over the knotted tweed rug that lends a cozy touch to this makeshift sitting room. Above the mattress are four wall safes where the CO keeps his classified documents, private effects, and other things not meant for the public eye.
Post-Holocaust Day: #419

The last time all of these people were in a room together, Colonial soldiers were being executed every thirty minutes. Fortunately, tonight's affair promises to be somewhat less fraught with tension, though Colonel Pewter still bears the marks of the recent unpleasantness on his body. But dressed as he is in his duty blues, the only hint that something might be amiss is the heavy cane resting on his queen-sized bed. His rocking chair creaks beneath him as he goes over recent after-action reports, pausing every so often to take a sip from the double of whisky (no ice) he drinks out of a garish pink coffee mug painted over with cartoonish red hearts.

Major Cidra Hahn's marks of captivity are faint but still present. A fading black right eye from her encounter with Lieutenant Colonel Baer's pistol-end is all that's really left. She's still on light duty and in her duty blues, dark haired pulled back into a neat bun. She's only just arrived and been shown in, and draws herself up into a fluid salute to Pewter. "Colonel Pewter. Reporting as requested, sir."

Mark got the note and managed to clean up before coming on up to the office. Its not like he had to go far since he had been around most of the afternoon looking at the damage to the XO's quarters. He's still got the fading bruises all over his face but the man is looking better. He managed to avoid breaking any ribs, too. A small miracle, that. Arriving just behind Cidra, he mimics her gesture. "Sir."

Madilyn arrives fresh off some rack time, and in her offduty threads. A tight ponytail replaces the usual bun style, and at the moment, not only are her dogtags visible on the front of the shirt, but the rings she wears on a chain there as well. Like the others, her signs of last week's captivity and escape show; red and healing cut around her left eye, and a vastly smaller gauze bandage over the wounds on the right arm. "Colonel Pewter, Sir," she nods, stepping inside.

"Uh-huh," Pewter grunts, tossing off a salute of his own. "Sit down, all y'all." His voice is a bit rougher than usual, but there's a distinct note of something like fondness that winds its way into that thunderous bass. With a heavy sigh, he pushes himself to the edge of the rocking chair so as to throw his reports onto the coffee table before him. "Just readin' this shit that's come up from the hangar. Gods damn, if them toasters had this kinda intel security before they nuked us — " Referring, no doubt, to the not one but two Cylon agents who chose last Friday to unveil themselves. "But y'all's know what they say 'bout cryin' and spillin' milk and all that." Beady eyes dart to the bottle of triple-distilled malt before him. "Y'all want some, help y'all's to it. And while y'all's do, I beg y'all's pardon for gettin' straight to business. Gemenon." The man's gaze settles on the CAG when he says that word. "We're goin', unless y'all give me a good reason why not."

Cidra sits, as directed. Legs crossing, hands folding on one knee. When he mentions the two Cylons agents in the Fleet, she nods at the bottle. "I would like a glass, sir, thank you." As to the Gemenon. "The matter of the Raptor last night indicates very strongly they know we are coming. But apart from the very pressing need to work that into our plans…Colonel, I can see no other course for our ship to take. For good for ill…it is the path before us, gods mercies on us all."

Mark's salute is dropped and he listens to the Old Man discuss the business on the hangar deck and the idea of Gemenon. The offer of the whiskey gets a lofted brow, though. Well, he isn't ranking so it looks like he'll be fetching. He moves to the glasses and pours a couple. One is handed off to Major Hahn and one is kept for himself. "I don't personally see an option, either, unless we want to charge into deep space. And I gotta be honest sir, most of it is pretty barren. There really isn't a lot out there. There's mathematical models that attempt to predict the likelihood of finding a habitable world outside the twelve colonies. The chances are something approaching one ten millionth of a percent per star."

"If we've been able to find any answers at all from these Cylon skinjobs thus far, imagine what we could find out if we had more cooperation. Maybe this is the first step in establishing…something. A business relationship, let's say. Something mutually beneficial, I suppose," Madilyn brainstorms a bit. Still, she's yet to let on that she knows anything more about Gemenon then what's been said so far.

"Uh-huh. Ain't no egghead like y'all's is," says Pewter, looking across at Mark through the thick lenses of his glasses, "but that sounds like a small frakkin' number to me. And my spooks're sayin' the same shit too. Plus — " A thick finger stabs the cover of the report on the mysterious disappearance and subsequent reappearance of the hijacked Harrier. "Might damn well be a trap, but least they've done us the courtesy of showin' us how they're disposed down there. Which might damn well be all sunshine and lies, too, but somethin's better than nothin', is what I'm told. Which means — " That finger now jabs in Madilyn's direction. "Y'all's people better get their shit together real fast and put a recon plan on my desk. Intel's already got some preliminaries drawn up, but they ain't jarheads. Once our eyes on the ground give the go, we'll be burnin' up that FTL faster'n a salmon-fish jumpin' up a crick."

"Both Major Willows-Cavanaugh and I have had our people working up preliminaries since the reconnaissance returned, Colonel. I shall get you what my Raptor pilots have thus far on the morrow," Cidra says with an inclination of her head to Pewter. "And I think we must proceed on the assumption that it *is* a trap. But what choice do we have? If violence can be avoided, I am all for it. There still remain human beings on that planet."

"Its a small number, yes sir. They are out there, though. There's more stars than there were grains of sand on all the beaches Aquaria. Our chances of finding one before our lives and equipment quit, though, are slim if we hunt blind." Mark sips at the glass and moves to take a seat, falling quiet on the rest. The man has the tactical acumen of a horse.

"Understood, sir. Plans have already been in the works for…" Madilyn starts, and lets Cidra finish the statement for her. "Yes, that. Our stage of the plans are at the point where explicit input from the Raptor pilots as to their capabilities given the terrain, weather, and desired landing vectors is needed. We are planning covert operations, to the best of our ability. A counter to their trap, if such a thing could be said to exist."

"Good. Don't need y'all's details now. My spooks'll be runnin' their feasibility assessments, too. I'll give the final go once they're done playin' with all them models." Pewter rocks backwards in his chair, his face twisting as he accidentally puts too much weight onto his bum right leg. The man does everything he can to stifle the grunt of pain — and fails. "Godsdammit," he mutters beneath his breath, pushing back with his left foot to reach for a small velvet box thrown on top of a pile of discarded sweats. It's snapped open with surprising force so he can display the contents to the assembled senior officers: two brass pins, polished to a blinding shine, bearing the rank insignia of a commander in the Colonial Fleet.

"That there's the second thing," the older man continues, clearing his throat. "Told that blonde captain the other day, and now I'm tellin' y'all's. Turns out Rudy's nonsense left me the senior officer in the whole battlegroup, and all them sneaky behind-the-back motherfrakkers that just got bumped to CO — " Pewter actually looks vaguely embarrassed. "None of 'em can think of anyone but this ol' dog to put these on."

A faint smile actually warms Cidra's face at Pewter's announcement. "Thank all gods, sir. I would fight and fly and die for no other Commander." The rank seems capitalized in her tone.

Mark sips once more at the glass of whiskey, looking to the contents as he swallows it. The ChEng approves by the look on his face. He double-takes back up as the box is opened and he offers a non-committal "Huh." Another few seconds and he looks back at the CO. "Makes sense. Lords know I'm not the model for military structure, but we'll need someone at the top." Mark's just glad it isn't him. "I sure won't complain."

"After all that's happened in the last week, it would be inappropriate to do otherwise, Sir," Madilyn nods with a smile more clearly evident on her face than on Cidra's. Of course, she was coherent enough to see Pewter in action on the Areion, so that might explain it!

"Can it," Pewter growls, doing his level best not to smile. Desperate times call for desperate measures — which might be why he oh-so-deliberately stomps on his right foot again. And when his face is creased in moderate agony, sweat slicking his brow, he closes the box and chucks it back in the corner. "Should airlock all y'all bootlickin' motherfrakkers," he mutters. But at least he can extract some small measure of revenge. "Now drink that godsdamned whisky and look under y'all's chairs." Uh. "Think y'all's sittin' on Major Hahn's there, Captain," he adds, scratching the back of his head as he realizes his plan isn't going to work as well as he originally hoped. "So uh. Just switch whatever y'all find."

Cidra sips at her whisky, as instructed, with a soft snort. "Captain Makinen is sitting on my what?" She inquires, with a raised brow at Mark. Then she looks under her chair. Perplexed.

The Captain doesn't need to be told twice. Drink yo drink? Hokay! He takes another good sip and smiles in appreciation of the whiskey. "Damn, this is good stuff, sir. Probably trainwreck anyone pretty quick," he says quietly, still watching the glass. But there's something under his seat? Blinkblink. He bends over to get a box and he just hands it over to Cidra. "I've been informed that this belongs to you, sir."

Leave it to the Caprican marine to take a sidesaddled approach to leaning over and looking - groping - around underneath the chair. What she finds there is a small velvet box not unlike the others that Mark and Cidra are retrieving, and the one that Pewter himself has shown them. Madilyn holds it in her palms, and looks at the purple velvet, not yet opening it until the others seem to have theirs sorted out.

Cidra plucks a box from under her own chair. Looking in it, then to Pewter with confusion, then it's handed to Mark. "And this is supposedly yours." She's not impolite enough to open it, either, though Pewter is eyed with *highly* arched brows. She looks almost wary now.

"Well? Open the godsdamned things," Pewter orders with a genuine chortle, reaching over to the bed so he can grab his cane. It's the only concession to his injuries that he's willing to make, and its rubberized cap taps dully against the carpet as he stumps over to the CO of Bravo Company, First Battalion, Ninth Marines. Doing his best to force the habitual drawl from his words. "Madilyn Willows-Cavanaugh: your diligence, loyalty, and gallantry in the face of the enemy has served as an example to us all. It is my distinct honor to promote you to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Congratulations, Colonel. And gods help the poor sumbitch who tries to aim another frakkin' bazooka in y'all's direction." Well, he tried.

At first, she can only look dumbfounded at the new rank pins inside the box. It takes a moment for the words to really sink in and between those and the metallic indicators, Madilyn finally cracks a smile. "I'm…well, I honestly don't know what to say, Sir. Thank you, of course, but really, I was…we were all just doing our jobs." As she speaks, she stands - now wishing that maybe she wasn't here in off-duty threads - and throws a sharp salute at the Commander.

"Y'all's just keep on doin' that, then." The woman's gesture is returned with the first honest-to-goodness salute these soldiers have probably seen Pewter perform. It's Mark's turn next, now that he's had the chance to switch boxes with the CAG. "Seems like I just did this for y'all yesterday," the man booms, clapping Mark across the shoulders with an un-bandaged hand. "No darts this time, boy. Mister Mark Makinen: I'm pretty sure y'all's still thinkin' I'm some barmy ol' codger with less brains than's in a sheep. Y'all's wouldn't be wrong. But though the only thing I know for a fact y'all's do is make my godsdamned ship go forward, even this codger knows when someone's got his people hummin'. Sad to say, we're gonna need y'all's to keep on doin' more with less. In the meantime — " The colonel — er, commander — coughs, speaking more slowly now. "It is my distinct honor to brevet you the rank of Major. Congratulations, Major."

The ChEng opens the box and blinks. Uh. "What do I do-" Pewter clamps his paw on his shoulder before he can finish, startling Mark. He looks up at the man, not a little surprised by everything. "Uh." Blink. He looks back down at the box and chuckles. "Thanks, sir. I think. I hope. I'm quite pleased by the lack of darts though, yeah." He chuckles and lifts his attention back to the CO and taps his temple in salute. Mark isn't exactly a shining example of a lot of things. Again, its not military structure that binds him to the job.

Chalk up two of those salutes. And then, the man's expression inscrutable, he draws himself to a stop in front of the CAG. She doesn't get a speech — at least not immediately. First, she'll have to suffer through a sharp, appraising stare from beneath his glasses. "There ain't no man or woman out there who does anything for nothing, Cidra Hahn," he says at length. "Least of all you." Referencing, perhaps, some private moment they've shared — and placing in the process just the slightest bit of stress on her last name. Her husband's last name. "It is my distinct honor to promote you to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Congratulations, Colonel."

Cidra opens her box, though she does not actually look down at its contents. Eyes fixed on Pewter. Expression inscrutable but no longer smiling. "This is unnecessary, sir." Her tone is slightly level. Like she is attempting to order him to stop. And then he just does it. Eyes meet his when he says that 'anything for nothing' bit. Expression stoic, and suddenly rather sad. Some private moment perhaps, indeed. "There has to be more than that left for us, Commander. I shall do my duty by this ship, as you have me." She does not sound particularly honored.

"Maybe there ain't," is all Pewter says. That, and: "But maybe there is." His bandaged hand presses down — hard — on Cidra's shoulder. Looking a decade older than his forty-nine years, the man walks back to his rocking chair, his posture bent, his expression suddenly weary. "Y'all's got more shit for me?"

"No Sir, can't say that I have. I wasn't exactly expecting this - any of this - when you caught me catching some rack time. When we've got something finalized on the Gemenon plans, I'll hurry them down myself," Madilyn says. The box is still held open in her hands, and every now and again, she looks down to make sure the pins contained therein are still there and still real.

Mark looks at the box some more with a frown. Its like he really doesn't know what to do with the pins. Like they are foreign objects that appeared in his hand via black magic. With the final question from Pewter, though, he looks up and shakes his head. "Nothing from Engineering, sir."

"Nothing at present, sir." Cidra's tone is back to decidedly inscrutable now. "We shall coordinate our plans for Gemenon with Tactical and you shall have something resembling complete in the coming days."

"Then y'all're dismissed. And y'all don't need me to say it, but it just wouldn't be fittin' for y'all to let all that glitter get in y'all's heads," is Pewter's final admonition, emphasized by a curmudgeonly swipe of his cane in the air. "Takes more'n fancy fins to make a fish." Reaching for his mug, he downs the rest of his drink before closing his eyes to rock back and forth, back and forth until the hatch closes behind the last of them.

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