PHD #050: Making Nice
Making Nice
Summary: Pallas and Daphne fly an uneventful CAP, get to know each other a bit better.
Date: 17 Apr 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Daphne Pallas 
The Depths of Spaaaaace!
Sector 641
Post-Holocaust Day: #50

CAP has been, thankfully, relatively uneventful. It would have to be, with the ship literally sitting in the middle of nowhere. Daphne is flying on Pallas' five o'clock, with the more experienced pilot of the two leading the flight. The Boat (TM) is far behind them now, and the crew on the raptor aren't saying much either. Daphne opens up on the radio. "So… eventful week." She sounds less than comfortable, like a nervous chuckle where someone forgot the chuckle.

Pallas has been easing back into the cockpit, having been out of it for a while. But when CAP's quiet and there's no DRADIS contacts, it's not like he actually has to do much. Just keep himself from falling asleep or smashing into anything. "Eventful, sure," he replies sarcastically. "Eight-hour frakking CAP shifts." He brings his Viper around slowly, marking a wide arc coming aft of Cerberus. "You must've frakked up real good to get stuck with me."

"Yes, sir." The affirmation is crisp, bright, and probably far too chipper for the asked question. Daphne: Industrial Hummingbee. "Hopefully this will be better than my last wingmate. I don't even remember her name anymore. Most boring person alive." There's a gentle pause, and then an admission with the nervous chuckle she previously omitted, "Not that… it's very difficult to be the most -anything- alive, these days. Lasher was my wingmate before that, but he switched himself to Lucky after… well, best not to be bitter."

"And hopefully," Pallas says in kind, "you'll be better off than my last wingman." There's a short pause. Then, just in case she's not aware of the fate of his previous wingman, he elucidates: "Burnout - Ensign Abilon. He hasn't been seen since we were at Picon Anchorage because he's been comatose all this time." That's given matter-of-factly over the comms. "And just like I said to him when we flew for the first time, I don't really give a frak about 'sir' or 'Lieutenant' or any of that bullshit. Spiral's fine."

"Yes sir. Spiral, sir." There isn't much of a hint of humor in the young lady's voice, though she's trying very hard to not smile while she does it. She eases the ship into a slow, gentle arc that follows the patrol route. "There's a lot of that going on. He might come out of it. You know, this ship is my first tour. Obviously my last, too. Any ground rules on how you like to fight?"

"Doubt it," Pallas says flatly. No high hopes for a miraculous wingman recovery, it seems. But he doesn't take the bait on the 'sir' thing. "Cerberus is the fifth ship I've been on. Don't worry - it only gets worse over time. So you're lucky." There's the bitter resignation for which he's so well-beloved. "Nine times out of ten, I lead, you shoot." He gives his Viper a little roll from side to side. "You don't want me to be shooting. But you better be able to keep your sights locked when you're in pursuit." Then, without warning, he punches it, boosting forward a bit before banking hard upward.

"There's not much room for worse without dying." remarks she with a dry chuckle, a little easier on the nerves this time. "You lead, I shoot. Got it, sir." Anything she was going to say is possibly lost forever, because she cuts herself in mid syllable once Pallas abruptly changes course. She does her best to keep up, following after him with relative success. She can, at least, keep up with the Lieutenant, though she gives her DRADIS a glance, then frantically looks around her cockpit for trouble.

He's no ace - and he likely never was. Pallas doesn't fly top speed, taking daring turns and blazing maneuvers. No, he flies at a mostly reasonable speed, fast enough but not straining too badly. It's his sudden changes in direction that are hard to follow. One minute, he's on level with Cerberus' trajectory, and the next, he's flipping about all over the place like a brain-damaged hummingbird. Up and down no longer have any meaning for him in zero gravity - he's free of gravitational restraint and directional preconceptions. There's no rhyme or reason to his flight path - at least from the vantage point of Battlestar Cerberus. "At least you can keep up," he says, evening out again in line with the original patrol route. "Burnout wanted the fast and flashy shit. I prefer to stay alive."

Daphne's breath exhales over the comm, more tired than anything else. "I thought there was a problem. I'm waiting for them to find us and try to finish the job again, sir." She doesn't make an attempt to follow Pallas though all those twists and turns, instead staying at an average distance, letting herself be the constant to his wildly gyrating trajectory. "I'm pretty good about not getting hit too hard. I have to ask, though. Lieutenant Laskaris. I was in the hallway when you were leaning in on him." She doesn't finish the statement or question, as though expecting the rest is obvious.

The unspoken question's left hanging for a long moment. Long enough that it seems like he might not answer it at all - the silence persists until they make the next arc in the flight path. "Stop calling me sir," he says at last. He doesn't sound annoyed by it, just weary. "As for Lasher… that's neither here nor there now," he says in the same resigned voice. "He's the actual Squadron Leader now, not just the Acting." Evidently, he's not happy about that promotion and appointment. Then again, when is he happy about anything?

"I'm not old enough to know anything, but I saw things that made me uncomfortable with his command, and it's really the first command I've had, if you don't count Kefir." Daphne keeps her craft steady through the turn. "That's why I asked, sir. I wasn't sure if I was the only one."

Pallas grunts over the comms. "Age don't count for shit," he says. "Not for most, anyway. The fleet thinks that rank is more important. But if there's something that makes you uncomfortable, you bring it up through me and I'll make sure it's noted." A short, uncomfortable silence - he can be heard shifting in his seat a bit over the radio. "Let me make this as clear as I can, because I know I've got a reputation and I don't doubt that every frakkin' person on this Gods-forsaken ship has an opinion about me. I don't frak around with bullshit. If I think you're doing something frakking stupid, I'm going to tell you that. But regardless of what you do or say, you are my section now, and I'm your chain. I don't have to like it - hell, I don't even have to like you - but whatever your needs, I will make sure they're taken care of if you make them known to me." He clears his throat. "And for frak's sakes, stop calling me sir. You're even worse than Burnout."

"Experience counts for something, sir." The other pilot can't hide her smile, this time. If she's lucky, Pallas isn't looking at her. "I can do bullshit free, though. I hold long grudges, and I'm unwaveringly loyal. Lucky left her wingmate, Money, completely wide open during a pretty bad sortie, because she was in a rush to cover my wingmate, who happened to be Lasher. Money's lucky she survived the fight. She often had multiple bandits on her, and crash landed. She broke her arm and hasn't flown since." There's no masking the irritation in Daphne's voice this time. "For this, her punishment was to become Lasher's new wingmate and Money's lucky she kept her wings after she spoke up about this. If those two are getting frisky, I'm going to be very, very upset, not to mention going direct to the CAG."

Pallas isn't looking at her, but he can hear the smile in her voice. "Wipe that shit-eating grin off your face, Click," he says. He shuts up and listens to her story without a single sound, though. "I read some of that in a frak-up report," he says once she finishes - frak-up report being what he calls AARs. "Lucky ditched her wingmate, did she?" he muses aloud, even though the channel's still open. "If that's what's happening, that's your prerogative. I'd advise you to be pretty frakking careful with an accusation like that and what kind of evidence you bring to bear," he notes. "Because even if you're right, you might be the one to burn for it."

"Noted. That would be a disservice to humanity. There aren't that many trained pilots left." She doesn't say anything else for a few seconds, then concludes with a rueful sigh, "Everyone has different wingmates now. I'll just drop it. But that doesn't mean I'm happy or that I have to be. I came out of flight school expecting teamwork, expecting wingmates to cover one another, and with what's happened to our civilization I expect that even more than before. Instead I'm finding that our squadron isn't living up to my expectations. The 101st are. I don't know how I feel about that."

Pallas chuckles. "You bought into all the Fleet propaganda, didn't you?" he asks. "Honor, loyalty, teamwork, integrity, and all that bullshit." Another chuckle. "I don't blame you, I really don't. I bought it all when I first joined… twenty-two years ago. I've long since learned that leadership rarely if ever does its job properly, nobody has a frakking clue what's really going on at any given time, and you get trampled if you don't know the right people - or refuse to tongue their sphincters." Pause. "As for the other Squadron, I wouldn't know. I can't frakking stand reservists, but nobody's really a reservist anymore, I suppose."

"I was a military brat and came from a military family, sir." chuckles Daphne, who may as well have forgotten she was asked not to use that word with Pallas. "I didn't have to buy it. It was spoonfed to me in a high chair. I joined Leonis Civil Air Patrol when I was fifteen. You could say I've been preparing my whole life for this but… nobody prepares for this, exactly. I was expecting better. I'm not… sure how I feel about that, like I said."

"Either way, no choices left now," Pallas sighs. Another slow turn around the Cerberus, and still nothing in sight. Almost literally nothing, since they're in the middle of nowhere. "I should've been released for more than a month now. But there's nowhere left for me to go and nothing left for me to do. So here I am." Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right… "Most my age have been relegated to a desk job doing paperwork. Yet I continue to play at being a Viper jock. What a frakkin' farce this is."

"Desk job would've gotten you killed, sir." Daphne's silent for only a second, easing her craft around with Pallas', "Rather die on my feet. Wouldn't you?"

"Rather die of drug overdose on a beach on Aquaria," Pallas counters. "Dead is dead either way. Doesn't matter to me when I'm gone. Only the living care. And I'm pretty sure I stopped caring about the living a while back." Whatever that means.

"Well I'm alive. If that means you won't back me up if I'm in trouble, then it's good to get that straightened out now, sir. I'll keep an extra eye on my six while picking them off of you." No attempt is made to hide the smirk on her face, though it's an annoyed one as far as these things go. "But I don't think that's what you really meant."

"If I'm still alive, I'll be doing everything I can to make sure you stay alive," Pallas answers. "Whereas you, on the other hand, shouldn't do anything brain-shatteringly stupid like throwing yourself into the lane of enemy fire to try and save me." Which is what Burnout did. After Pallas abandoned a maneuver that left him stranded.

"Good to know, sir." Daphne turns her craft, steering towards The Boat off in the distance. She adds accusingly, "Don't you suicide on me or I swear I'll kill you."

Anther chuckle on the radio - this time, darker. "If I were inclined to kill myself, I'd've done so long ago." Pallas slows down his Viper and follows after Daphne, letting her take the lead. He floats about side to side behind her like a pendulum. "Though if you keep calling me sir, I'm going to let you take a few hits before stepping in the next time we tumble with Cylons."

"It's a conveyance of respect for your experience, dedication, and superiority." No sir. "And I will continue to do it in public around superior officers, or else they would have every right to give me trouble for it. In private, I'll leave it off, for you."

Pallas gives a single derisive snort at that. "Right," he says. "Because I command so much respect. Don't frakking worry about it, Click. I'm sure everyone was ecstatic when Money Shot bludgeoned me with her cast right in the middle of the Deck in front of everyone."

Daphne arches her right eyebrow at that one. "Exactly… why did she do that? Did you try to hug h… no," sputters she with a derisive chuckle, "You're clearly not the hugging type. She hates being touched. What was -that- all about?"

Pallas stops swinging his Viper about on Daphne's tail and settles into a nice straight path toward the Battlestar. "She took some exception to things I said," he says dryly. "Past that, it's not my story to tell. Ask her if you want to know. I'm sure she'll relish the opportunity to relive that golden moment."

"Yeah, well… that's fine if I just want her version, but I asked you so I'd get yours. Or does that mean it's not a story you -want- to tell?" Daphne glances over at Pallas' Viper through her cockpit, settling in behind and astern.

Silence over the comms as Cerberus gets closer and closer. "Interpret it however you want," Pallas says. "It is what it is." That appears to be all he's willing to say for now - which isn't saying much at all. Then again, he's been strangely uncharacteristic this whole flight, almost none of his usual snappish and sarcastically abusive self coming through.

"Oh. Okay." After that, Daphne matches the silence, breaking it only to add, "Are you going to request clearance to land?"

Pallas waits until it's almost too late to radio into the LSO for clearance to land. He pulls back as they coast in, putting enough space between himself and Daphne so she can land first before he comes in. "Another day, another boring-as-frak CAP," he mutters.

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